Thurmond set example with young life

Published 12:00 pm Friday, October 3, 2008

Last week’s newspaper told of the death of Spain Park graduate and Auburn freshman Drew Thurmond.

The article told you about how he was killed in a car accident in Auburn and of how well-liked he was among his peers. It shared of the hundreds of people who attended his memorial service, visitation and funeral. It told you of his good grades and his numerous accomplishments, especially on the soccer field. But as always, there is more to the story.

The Saturday of Drew’s visitation, the Auburn football team, plagued with a poor season so far this year actually won a game. They won it for Drew. They may not know they did, but we knew they did. I reminded his mother Sandy, (who happens to be an Alabama fan), of Auburn’s win in his honor. She laughed because she was painfully but sincerely wearing Auburn earrings that night in his memory as well.

Drew and his little brother Kyle had become close in their teenage years.

At the visitation, I reminded Kyle of how he and Drew would fuss and fight when they were younger, but if anyone even looked or said anything wrong to Kyle, Drew was ready to fight them. Drew loved his little brother and it showed. He was a protector and a loyalist to people and to causes he loved — his family, friends, soccer, Auburn and the Children’s Miracle Network for which he volunteered.

Family and friends will remember Drew for a variety of reasons. But there is one specific time appropriate reason that I will remember him.

When I first heard the news of Drew’s death I called his mother Sandy to tell her how sorry I was and to offer any feeble attempt I could to help her family in any way possible. Sandy shared something very special and touching with me.

You could hear her voice perk up and she was so proud as she said, “Drew had registered to vote and he had already received his absentee application.”

With Election Day on the horizon, please follow the example of 18-year-old Drew Thurmond and register to vote if you haven’t already. He had performed his civic duty and had his priorities straight when it came to exercising the most sacred right we have as Americans.

Drew Thurmond will never know what it is like to cast a vote, but he knew how important it was because he had taken the time and made the effort to register. He was prepared to vote. That alone is a compliment to his character and to the character instilled in him by his parents. Hopefully his example will inspire hundreds of people young and old to portray the same patriotism and pride.