Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I thank God that He let me know Derek

I will always remember Derek. Few students touched me the way that he had. I pray that his witness continues to grow, even after his death. Thank you, Derek, for ALWAYS making me laugh after a long and tiring school day. You were one of the best.

Crash victim, 14, recalled as fun-loving, reliable
Carrollton: Teen faces manslaughter charge in wreck near R.L. Turner
12:00 AM CST on Tuesday, December 20, 2005
By BRANDON FORMBY and MARISSA ALANIS / The Dallas Morning News
Derek Elizondo was a fun-loving and popular teen who always tried his best to put a smile on people's faces.
As family and friends grappled Monday with his death, Carrollton police arrested the teenager they say was driving a pickup that flipped and ejected Derek from the bed. Six others were injured in the one-vehicle accident near R.L. Turner High last week.
"All he wanted to do was have fun," said Brandon Butler, 16, who had been friends with Derek since middle school. "It's just going to be really different without him."
Danny Joe Williams, 17, of Farmers Branch faces one count of manslaughter and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, all second-degree felonies. Mr. Williams was being held Monday at Carrollton city jail. His bail is expected to be set today, police said.
Witnesses said Mr. Williams was speeding and swerving as he drove westbound on Cox Street on Dec. 12. Six teens were riding in the back of the truck, which is illegal for those under 18, police said. Some of the students in the truck were hitching a ride from the school to an athletic workout facility.
"God sends people to show us lessons," Herbert Bonilla, Derek's friend and a fellow football player, told WFAA-TV (Channel 8). "Anybody can learn from this lesson not to jump on the back of a truck."
Derek, 14, who suffered head injuries in the accident, died Sunday night. His viewing will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Christian Center Assembly of God, 13505 Josey Lane in Farmers Branch. His funeral will be at 1 p.m. Friday at the church.
To his coaches, Derek was a talented athlete with an extremely likable and dependable nature. Head wrestling coach Greg George said Derek had placed first in a duals tournament at a wrestling competition Dec. 10 at Lake Highlands High School. The coach said Derek had won eight of nine wrestling matches.
"It's just a shame to lose a young life like that," Mr. George said. "It's very tragic."
Head freshman football coach Gary Qualls called Derek an enthusiastic and reliable young man.
"He started on the 'B' team as a second string cornerback and ended up on the 'A' team in the last three games of the season, leading the 'A' team with three interceptions," Mr. Qualls said.
He spoke fondly of how Derek never missed his daily morning ritual known as "Coach's Corner" in which athletes could greet coaches and discuss anything.
"He was always there shaking my hand," Mr. Qualls recalled. "I could count on Derek every morning to come by and shake my hand with a smile on his face."
Mr. Qualls said that Derek was passionate about the ROTC program, of which he was a member.
In an interview with WFAA-TV, Derek's mother said it had become apparent how many lives her son had touched.
"My baby had more friends than what we actually realized. I mean there are many we didn't know," Marie Simpson said. "We knew a lot of them, you know, I mean, there's just so many more people coming out that we didn't realize were there."
On Monday, crisis counselors were available to help students, who are in the middle of final exams. Counselors were sent to the high school and Vivian Field Middle School, where Derek was a student last year. The counselors also will be on site today.
Angela Shelley, spokeswoman for the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district, said the schools are working with students who are unable to take final exams because of the tragedy.
"Their emotional health is more important now," Ms. Shelley said. "We're doing everything we can to help those kids. We're a family, and we've got to take care of our own right now."
After the accident, Derek's personal Web site turned into a spot where people could receive updates on his condition. Word of his death Sunday night spurred teens to post heartfelt messages on Xanga.com, a popular site that hosts blogs.
Derek's father told WFAA-TV that he knows he'll have a difficult time adjusting to the loss of the son he was so close to.
"I know I can say that I am very proud to have been his dad and still am," Art Elizondo said.
WFAA-TV reporter Brad Watson contributed to this report.
E-mail bformby@dallasnews.com
and malanis@dallasnews.com

Monday, December 19, 2005

Derek is now with the Lord

May God comfort his family and friends.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sorry...I have no new information

I don't thinkI'll see Derek today. I hope to hear some news tomorrow at school.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Derek Update

They announced at school today that the doctors do not want visitors today (scratch my trip). Last night, he had so many guests that it agitated his system...too much stimuli I guess. I called his father and left a message on his cell phone that some teachers and I would be happy to bring them food and supplies. We understood that we wouldn't see Derek, but we wanted to help. I didn't get a reply, so we will try to visit him on Sunday. He could be in the hospital for a long time and Tiffany and I want to make it a weekly thing to see him. I also want to point out that the picture of Derek is a football picture. He usually is smiling, but football players are TOUGH, so no smiles! Derek is one of the happiest kids and has a very competitive spirit (which is good right now!). He is missing a karate belt ceremony tonight at my school. They are dedicating the ceremony to him. The school is also raising money to help with his medical bills. Please continue to pray for him and Brent (the other student that was injured).

Derek's Health

I tried to see Derek last night, especially after his friend that was sitting next to him on the truck visited me yesterday. That student said that Derek's parents were wanting visitors due to their concern of whether or not he would make it through the night. I was unable to find teachers to go with me after school, so I will go today. The student that was next to Derek was scraped up pretty badly. He has to keep watch to make sure he doesn't have a fractured skull, and he has one bad headache. These two students were two favorites of mine. Both are Christians and both have many adult and teen friends.

Report from a teacher who visited him last night:
He is in a chemically induced coma.
Obviously he is not able to talk or move.

I was able to visit with his Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt.

The doctors have a shunt drilled in the top right hand side of his skull, which dispels fluid from the swelling of the brain.

The plan, as of yesterday, is to try and wake Derek up from the chemically induced coma in nine more days.

He looks really good and strong.

I know you will pray for him.

Teen suffers brain injury from pickup overturn
09:07 PM CST on Tuesday, December 13, 2005

WFAA-TV Derek Elizondo
A Farmers Branch family has begun a bedside vigil for their teenage son who suffered a severe brain injury in a pickup truck accident Monday outside R.L. Turner High School.
Eight R.L. Turner High School students were on their way down Cox Street in Carrollton for wrestling and off-season football workouts at the field house when the truck flipped with six students in its bed.
Art Elizondo and Marie Simpson endured a long sleepless night while their son Derek went through surgery. Their wait for his recovery continued into Tuesday.
Also Online
Brad Watson reports
Student remains hospitalized after truck overturns
"He's going to pull out," Elizondo said. "He's going to pull out. God's going to take good care of him."
The parents said he is in critical condition with swelling of the brain and his recuperation could take up to a year.
"He's a strong kid," Simpson said. "He's a fighter. He's healthy, so he's going to come out of it one day at a time."
Derek was among six who rode in the truck's bed, despite state law that says no one under 18 can ride in the bed on a public street, and flew out as it overturned.
The students were heading from the high school to the field house, which was a few blocks away.
The school district said students without vehicles are told to walk, but one student said students pick up rides frequently.
"Yeah, they usually do it...but they're like going slow," said Nixon Portillo, a freshman at R.L. Turner High School.
R.L. Turner High School athletes who do drive to practice are being told by the school to obey traffic laws or face discipline.
"We just always remind them just how careful you have to be," said Bobby Burns, Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District.
Carrollton police said they are still investigating, and charges against the student driver who they said was speeding are still possible.
E-mail mailto:bwatson@wfaa.com?subject=wreck

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Former student in coma after accident

Click on the title to see a video.

The R.L. Turner High School football players and wrestlers were headed to the field house, which is blocks from the school campus.
Police said the 17-year-old driver lost control because of speed.
"He was swerving like that and hit a curb I guess," Rangel said. "And klunk, like that and the car tilted and we all fell out of the car."
Rangel said he believes the driver was swerving for fun. However, what bus driver Tommy Burns said he saw from the sidewalk wasn't fun.
"Just flipping, everything [was] just flipping," he said. "[I saw] kids in my vision, in my face and everywhere."
Under state law, no one under 18 can ride in the back of a truck on a public street.
Rangel's mother said after her fear dissolved to relief, she set her son straight.
"I had no idea he was riding in the back of a pickup," said Misty Rangel. "But he will not be doing that again."
Carrollton police and the school district are continuing their investigation.
WFAA-TV reporters Mary Ann Razzuk and Brad Watson contributed to this story.

He was one of my favorite students. He came back about a month ago to visit. Very active and polite teen. He was in football and karate. He never called me "Ms. Perkins" but "My favorite teacher." I'm sure he did that with all of his teachers!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Dad has made it!

My Dad is an airplane photographer whenever he finds the time. Sometimes, a magazine will pick up on his photographs and pay him to use the picture. This time, Dad got the cover! It is a picture of a Southwest plane. Seeing as I have a few friends that have SWA connections, maybe they can connect him to the Big Guy of SWA. Dad, what do you think?

Mavs game with FCA

This was really cool! It may have been the most disorganized event for students I've ever been at, but we, the Field teachers, we're on top of things. When we first got there (there being a field next to the AA center), we were the second or third school to arrive. The Mavs representatives handed our kids stacks of All Star ballots and told them to complete the 100 ballots for a free t-shirt. Our kids went after it! All of the other hundreds, if not thousands, of kids were walking around, causing chaos. Our kids were gathered on the sidewalk, intent on finishing the ballots. We then gathered in front of a stage where Coach Avery Johnson spoke to us. He pulled a raffle ticket to give a basketball that was signed by all of the Mavs. The raffle tickets were given to the students that completed the 100 All Star ballots. I think only our kids completed the ballots and a Field boy won the ball. Johnson spoke about being saved in 1989 in New Orleans. He wanted our kids to stay strong and succeed my being a slave to God. The kids loved it! I loved seeing him and shaking his hand. (I was in charge of keeping our kids away from the Rockwall kids (and their pretty girls) to form a path for Johnson to come down. I felt like a bouncer in a way!) We went to the game. These kids NEVER get to do things like this. They chanted every chant that was thrown on the jumbotron and sang every song on the PA system. They had the time of their lives. When we left, our bus had to go down a steep hill. The tail pipe was crushed as we went down and the air had to escape somewhere else and made this hissing sound. We had to call for help because it wasn't safe for us to drive. Luckily, the AA Center sent someone with a crowbar to open up the tail pipe. I was so relieved that we didn't have to wait for another bus to arrive! All in all, the kids had a great time and we got to talk to them about God. I just wish it didn't take my 4:00 to 11:00 of a Saturday away from me. Oh, BTW, the Mavs won! The Cowboy game Sunday was great too!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Curt Baker's White Elephant Gift

Last night I saw Curt Baker for the first time in a long time. I hadn't seen him since he got back from Africa. We had a white elephant gift exchange. Curt didn't know I was coming and his gift proves it. His gift was a bag of "junk." As the girl was opening her gift, she was looking through pictures and commented, "Who are these people?" I look and I see Michael's and my engagement picture! Also, there was a picture of Choo on the 8th grade basketball team, Michael Felker on the high school soccer team, and Curt's senior picture. I grabbed the pictures so they wouldn't be tossed by a stranger. Michael and I had thought to give one of our picutures as a gift, but I can't believe Curt did!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Brrrr....It is cold outside!!

Today I get to teach school because the weather interfered with the two-day training I was suppose to attend. It is better that I am at school. I have something easy to do because I had planned for the sub. It also is going by a lot faster than if I were sitting in a boring training.

This afternoon should be fun. There is an FCA meeting today and I will lead a discussion about being in the Word. Ouch....I need to be doing more of that.

Tonight, there is a white elephant gift party. I won't say what our gift is, but it is so white elephant! I can't wait to see our old friends.

Tomorrow, the FCA group and I are going to the Mavericks game. Before the game, Avery Johnson is going to speak to the kids. How awesome it is to have a Christian coach in the NBA talking with the kids in the community.

Sunday, I will hopefully go to church for the first time in two weeks. Richardson East is having a special contribution for a new sound system. The old one is twenty years old and can't support our larger praise team. I can't wait to hear the new system come January. Michael and I will also do the ROCK group thing. I have missed those kiddos.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Will we ever both be healthy during our marriage???

Michael and I both went to the doctor on Sunday. It is a lot more fun to go to the doctor when you don't feel THAT bad, but you just can't get over a sickness and you go with your best friend. Michael and I keep passing a sickness to each other. I got the illness first (from Thanksgiving week with my family) and gave it to Michael and he gave back to me and I to him. He got the illness because he has allergies and was susceptible to get it. He then got a steroid shot in the hip. My "cold" got so bad that I got pink eye and have to put in these miserable drops. Together, we have eight different prescriptions. So many crazy things have happened to us since we said "I do." Will life ever become normal again?

I did get to put up the Christmas tree on Sunday since I didn't go to church or Bible Study. That really makes a house feel like a home.

We visited Michael's family Saturday night after we heard that Dad-Dad died. We were being careful to not touch the children and to keep our hands washed. The family decided that their family's cure to a cold would help us - a couple of spoonfuls of whiskey. Wow! That was something else! I'm glad we didn't get pulled over on the way home. We had spilt some of the whiskey when we went over a speed bump. The car reeked of alcohol. (We didn't take our "medicine" until we were home.)

Michael's mom sent over some homemade chicken noodle soup for us Sunday. She also made breadsticks to go with it. It was SO GOOD! I will need to learn how to do this.


Michael's grandfather, Dad-Dad, passed away on Saturday. Here is his obituary.

Lee Roy Hall

Lee Roy Hall, affectionately called "Sonny" by his family, passed away December 3, 2005 in Midland.He was born July 22, 1930 in a tent in McCamey, Texas to Charles and Freddie Lou Hall. Lee Roy was raised in Monahans and Midland, and graduated from Midland High School in 1948. He then attended Abilene Christian College where he met the love of his life, Lois Jean Smith. Lee Roy and Jean were married September 2, 1949 in Abilene, Texas at the 14th and Vine Church of Christ. Lee Roy and Jean set up house in Midland where they lived in a house they built themselves. Lee Roy had numerous occupations; shoe salesman, farmer, railroad agent, life insurance salesman, real estate manager and his favorite job was his most recent, as a crosswalk guard at Rusk Elementary. If you knew Lee Roy, you will remember his big blue eyes and his beautiful big white toothed salesman smile and some of his favorite sayings; "A third and a third and a third", "I'm two hundred pounds of walking romance", "You have a duty to your audience", "It's those inherited characteristics", "Nice, neat, straight and complete" and calling his Jean "Dynamite". Lee Roy and Jean are charter members of Golf Course Road Church of Christ. Lee Roy was preceded in death by his father, Charles Robert Hall; his mother, Freddie Lou Hall; his brother, Alton Layfette Hall; his sister, Vina Rue Hall; and his granddaughter, Marie Meador.He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jean Hall of Midland; his seven children, David Hall of Carrolton, TX, Wayne Hall of Houston, TX, Sarah Meador of Arlington, TX, Mark Hall of Houston, TX, Ted Hall of Cartwright, OK, Shelley Beaver of Denver, CO and Shawna Roland of Greeley, CO; seventeen grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; his brother, Fred Hall and his sister, Loreitta Black.The family will receive friends at Ellis Funeral Home Monday, December 5, 2005 between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 P.M.Funeral services will be at 11:00 A.M. Tuesday, December 6, 2005 at Golf Course Road Church of Christ with Ronnie White officiating. Interment will follow at Resthaven Memorial Park. Arrangements are under the direction of Ellis Funeral Home.Pallbearers will be his grandsons, Clint Hall, Neil Hall, Ryan Hall, Michael Hall, Jordan Hall, Mark T. Dyke and Quade Roland. Honorary pallbearers are Ray Blackwell, Charlie Smith, Mike Houston, Royce Howard, Ed Stewart and Zach Beaver. Published in the Midland Reporter-Telegram on 12/5/2005.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Friday's Thoughts

I hope everyone had a good week!

Sickness: I was sick Saturday and Sunday and was feeling pretty bad Monday. Michael felt bad on Monday and Tuesday, took Wednesday off, worked too hard on Thursday and I think he is taking today off. We both have been sick a lot since we've been married. Shaun and Andrew came over on Sunday and I was sick on the couch. The last time they were there, like a week earlier, I was sick on the couch. I hope they don't think Michael makes me sick!

Wedding: The wedding is nearly officially over! Mom and I are finishing the photograph stuff today. I can't wait to not have a wedding item on my to do list! This has been going on since April!

Canon: Canon is doing well after his successful liver transplant. God is so good!

Stars: I hear they are doing well. I don't get to watch the games anymore because I don't get FSW.

3 months: Tomorrow marks 3 months of marriage! Last month, Michael had food poisoning. Looks like he'll have a sore throat this time around. He wears himself out working so hard.

December: Is anyone else shocked that it is already December?