‘Don’t be that story:’ SCHS assembly warns students about drugs, drunk driving

COLUMBIANA- Ever since the deaths of their children, Guy and Terri Allbrook and Karen and Jimmy Crane have felt compelled to share their stories to others in the hopes of saving lives.

“We feel that God has given us a story,” Karen Crane said. “Maybe, by this, one child will be saved and one parent will be spared the heartbreak that we have had to go through.”

Through an assembly at the Shelby County High School auditorium on Monday, April 24, a week before the SCHS prom, the Allbrooks and the Cranes had the opportunity to speak to students about the importance of making good decisions.

Before the families took the stage, SCHS students performed a skit that covered topics such as self-esteem, bullying and suicide prevention.

“We’re not here to preach at you, but nobody at your age is invincible,” Guy Allbrook said. “What we’re doing here today is begging you to have fun and go to prom. Your parents, your friends and your family loves you, so be smart.”

Karen and Jimmy Crane spoke to students about their son’s overdose, and Guy and Terri Allbrook talked about the drunk-driving accident that took their daughter’s life.

“We found out about this from a knock on the door,” Guy Allbrook said. “This is the hardest thing a parent could ever hear in their lives. And until it happens to you, it’s just a story. Don’t be that story, and don’t let your parents be up here telling that story.”

Jimmy Crane said, while his testimony alone cannot change things completely, he believes that God gave him and his wife the strength to try to help students make good choices.

“I feel like we’re planting a seed in these young people. Maybe a few years down the road, someone will water,” Jimmy Crane said. “In no way do I think that my story alone will keep kids from doing what they’re going to do, but God’s purpose for Karen and I was to share our story.”

“It can happen to anybody at any time when you make a bad decision,” Guy Allbrook added. “If you can change a decision, you can save a life.”

After the assembly, the Shelby County Drug Free Coalition displayed cars that were totaled as the result of drunk-driving accidents.

SCHS Principal Barbara Snyder said the assembly sent a powerful message to students, and was grateful that the families spoke at the school.

“They’re hearing these stories from the people who have actually experienced it.” Snyder said. “These stories are heartbreaking, and it is great that these families overcame their hurt to share with our students.”