Tragedy in our community

Published 12:23 pm Friday, March 18, 2016

As journalists, we try to avoid using the word tragedy.

That’s because the word easily can get, and be, overused. But then one occurs and we understand the true depth of what it means. And it’s in that moment that you have to actually say: Tragedy struck — as in, tragedy struck Lunenburg recently.

Two Lunenburg teenagers were killed 4:31 a.m. Sunday, March 6, when they were hit by a pickup truck while walking on Route 49 just outside of Victoria.

Alex K. Ferree, 19, of Victoria, and Datrail A. Barnes, 17, of Kenbridge, died at the scene. The two were dressed in dark-colored clothing and were walking home after leaving a friend’s house.

The driver of the 2014 Ford F-150 was traveling south on Route 49 when he came through a thick patch of fog and encountered the youths walking in the southbound lane.

Since then, there has been outpouring of emotion.

Friends of Ferree are raising money through a GoFundMe account to take him back to Tennessee to be buried.

Meanwhile, a memorial was held at the Central High School flag pole for the teens — an event praised by Lunenburg County Supervisor T. Wayne Hoover, as well, attended and fitting.

“That was a class act by the school system, and as a parent I appreciate it,” Hoover made a point to say at the recent board of supervisors meeting.

We would like to talk about child safety, but the truth is, more often than we’d like to admit, tragedy really can’t be avoided. And since it happened, really all we can say is that this was a tragedy that the community hopes not to see again anytime soon, and, preferably, ever.

It’s a robbery — families of children, a community of its future and the world of potential.

No one knows what either Ferree or Barnes would have done with their lives; where they would have gone or become. All we know — and all we can say — is that whatever might have been certainly won’t and can’t be. And that’s why we all mourn — because we know that of all the sad things we are forced to deal with in life, you never want to bury a child.

We don’t say it often, but we always feel for those who suffer loss. We offer our condolences now to the families and our community.