Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sometimes Lightning Strikes Twice

Austin Hatch was aboard a plane that
crashed in northern Michigan yesterday.

Michigan basketball commit Austin Hatch is in critical condition.

Tragic events of any magnitude can be difficult to convey.  Even as I write this, the keyboard seems less responsive than usual.  Each key offers more resistance than it should.

Yesterday afternoon a flight took off from Fort Wayne, Indiana carrying three passengers.  Dr. Stephen Hatch, his wife Kim, and their son Austin were all aboard a 1975 Beech A36 fixed wing, single engine aircraft when it crashed into a residential garage in Charlevoix, a small town in northern Michigan.  

1975 Beech A36 fixed wing aircraft
Piloted by Dr. Stephen Hatch.
Although the aircraft was capable of transporting up to six passengers, it does not appear that anyone else was on board when rumored engine problems claimed the lives of Dr. Hatch and his loving wife (Austin's stepmother).  The 6'6'' wing who committed to play for the Wolverines last month was the only reported survivor.

Losing family in a plane crash is a devilish and uncommon catastrophe, like lightning boiling from somber skies to strike a tender spot of the world's benevolence.  Sometimes, lightning strikes twice.

Eight years ago, Austin lost his mother, sister, brother and family dog in a similar plane crash.  It is a fate so oppressive that one can hardly be expected to endure it once.  By not only leading a productive life in the years since the first accident but excelling as he has in the face of such crushing adversity, Austin has already exhibited a distinguished strength.  

He will need every ounce of that strength over the next critical days of recovery, and again during the weeks, months and years of learning to cope with a loss so unfathomable that words cannot describe, let alone fill, the void now tearing into the fabric of his life.

But Austin is not alone.  His commitment last month was more than a pledge to play basketball.  He joined a brethren tens of thousands strong, a family who will nurture, embrace and cherish him as its own for the rest of his life.  In these troubling times, we support you Austin.  Now and forever. 

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