October 18, 2009 in Idaho Voices

Swanks offer thanks for kindnesses

Courtesy of Valley Christian School photo

Andrew ‘Drew’ SwankCourtesy of Valley Christian School
(Full-size photo)

About this column

Drew Swank, a 17-year-old junior at Valley Christian School, was pronounced dead Sept. 27 following a head injury suffered during an eight-man football game Sept. 25 on the field of defending state champion LaCrosse-Washtucna. His parents and family asked to thank the community in this special Vocal Point.

A message from Drew Swank’s family …

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all the folks throughout the Inland Northwest and beyond who’ve so lovingly reached out to our family to comfort us in this time of brokenheartedness. You’ve been so gracious in helping us to remember and to say goodbye to our son, Drew.

We are so grateful for the thousands of loving and encouraging words, notes, prayers, cards, e-mails, verses from God’s word, offers of help, acts of kindness, untold numbers of generous and thoughtful gifts, and countless hugs and tears. You have lifted our spirits. Also, thank you too for the many people who have shared personal experiences and memories of Drew with us … they’ve blessed our hearts. We’re especially thankful to our Father in heaven for giving Drew to us for 17 wonderful years, and even though we’re heartsick and we miss our son, we thank and honor God and his plan for Drew’s life. Our hope is that Christ will be lifted up in this tragic event so that God’s love will be shown as a beacon of light throughout the land (John 3:16).

Thank you for remembering Drew at so many school and sporting events with moments of silence, displays of his No. 15, team cards, and so many 50/50 raffles and car wash fundraisers. Thank you to Noah for racing in Drew’s name last weekend at the Dodge Moto Cross Championships held in Sacramento, Calif., and for dedicating his first-place trophy to him. Thank you for being our son’s friend!

Thank you to all of the local news media for sharing our son with the community in such a compassionate and sincere manner. Thank you for your prayers, too.

Thank you to the LaCrosse-Washtucna communities, their school, and the football team for all the care and support they’ve shared with our family and with Valley Christian School. You have a wonderful community.

We are so grateful to the Washtucna staff and folks who helped with our son at the time of his accident. Thank you to the EMTs and the ambulance crew. Also, thank you to Nora for loving one of her “boys” and tending him in the ambulance. Thank you to the hospital staff at Ritzville for the compassion and help.

Thank you to the Sacred Heart airlift ambulance crew for flying Drew to the hospital. We appreciate all you did for our son. We’re so grateful to all the doctors and health care providers and staff at Sacred Heart. They fought valiantly against great odds to try and give us a different outcome, and we will be forever grateful for their efforts.

God had a bigger and more glorious plan for Drew.

We deeply appreciate the Valley Christian School family for all their love, support, and care in helping us through these heart-wrenching times. We will forever treasure their love for our son. We are so grateful God has allowed our kids – Drew, Rowee and Tim – to attend VCS to experience its loving and nurturing environment. You were helping our son to be “Mighty in Spirit.”

Thank you VCS too for hosting the reception for our son’s funeral and thank you so much to Longhorn Barbeque restaurant for generously providing much of the food.

We’re deeply grateful to all who helped so much with Drew’s funeral including the Spokane Valley Church of the Nazarene for letting us use its facility.

Thank you to Coach Jim Puryear and his wife, Kelly, for getting the VCS football program started. Much thanks to Coach Puryear and Coach Mike Heden for teaching our kids a strong work ethic, football skills, and the life skills of leadership, team play, sportsmanship and camaraderie.

We are deeply indebted for the fellowship and love our son received daily from not only his teammates and friends but from the entire VCS student body. We were so touched by the testimonies at Drew’s life celebration.

We surely miss our son and brother but we earnestly look forward to that day when we’ll be together with him again as God promised.

Thank you to the whole community for remembering and caring about our Drew.

Gratefully and lovingly,

Don and Patti Swank and family

P.S. God says our children are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We all need to be so grateful to God for these blessings He has bestowed upon us. Please hug and love your kids every day.

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