I have had so many different thoughts come and go from my mind as I have considered what to write for this issue. Of course, now that we’re a monthly printed publication, throughout the month I think “Oh! That’s what I’ll write,” only to have it replaced by something else, (what seems to be) only a moment later.
I have thought about the recent immigration issue. I thought about my feelings as I watched “Every 15 Minutes” unfold at the high school. Of course, I thought about my teaching again. And then, a student I knew was killed in a terrible car accident.
For those who do not know or who may have forgotten, I spent four years working in the library located at the Delhi Educational Park. It was a fascinating opportunity to work at such a unique facility that provides service not only to students, but to the public as well. I worked a good amount of time during the days, so of course I worked with the high school and middle school students, but I also worked Tuesday and Thursday evenings and on Saturdays, so I had the opportunity to work with the general public and with elementary school students. What a wonderful opportunity I had!
I watched students go from coming in on evenings and Saturdays as elementary students to coming in as middle school students. Four years is nothing compared to the amount of time Mrs. Freeman and Mrs. Teekell have spent with students, but it does afford the opportunity to see students grow.
I don’t know how old Javier Martinez was the first time I met him as a Delhi student. I know that he would have been at the end of his freshman year at the time I stopped working at the library. I did not know him as well as some of the other students. There are some I remain in contact with today. I see them when I’m out and about. I believe the last time I saw Javier was when I attended a Quincenera at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Turlock. I don’t think I even said hello. So, I did not know him particularly well. That said, to see his photo in other local papers after the accident on May 5 was a shock.
My worlds collided as I attended the funeral mass on May 10. I attended because I had known him when he was a student in Delhi. I also attended because I am the lead writer and the executive editor for his hometown newspaper.
In all of the coverage, it seemed to get lost somehow that Javier Martinez was from Delhi. His longtime friends are here. His teachers are here. His family is here. I know many people, especially those who were his fellow students in Delhi, experienced a great deal of pain. In fact, I am sure many are still feeling the effects of the sudden loss.
One young lady posted on our website “I miss him sooo much.”
Because reader comments must actually be posted by one of us, I have made sure that I am checking periodically for additional comments. No others have yet come in, but I assure our readers that if they do, they will be read and posted as we can.
The “Every 15 Minutes” program is specifically designed to caution teens of the dangers of drinking and driving. There has not been any indication that Javier’s accident had anything to do with drinking. However, I do hope that our local teens take to heart the lesson that can be learned. It is important that they use extreme caution while driving. Driving is a privilege not to be taken lightly. Please be extremely careful while driving. Peer pressure is a strong force in the lives of our youth and it takes great strength to stand up against it.
In late December, we lost one of our youth group “kids” to a car accident. Three teen boys were out joy-riding on August Road. That joy-ride ended tragically. It hurt many people. Jon was 17.
Javier was 16. His friend, Adrian, was 15.
There was just a little over a week between witnessing “Every 15 Minutes” and the tragic loss of two teenagers’ lives. In fact, Turlock High School held their “Every 15 Minutes” only a short time before Delhi. It is one thing to go through the motions for a day or two and then have your classmate, your friend, again sitting next to you in class. It is quite another to know that you will never again see your friend.
I was 15 the first time I lost a friend. It was following the homecoming game and he was loading things into the back of a truck. He stepped out from behind the truck and was struck by a passing vehicle. He was just a year ahead of me in school. I will never forget finding out what had happened and I will never forget attending his funeral.
To the friends of Javier Martinez, I somewhat know what you are going through now. You will never forget this time, but it will get easier. If there is a lesson to be learned, I pray you have learned it.
To the family of Javier Martinez, I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I am so deeply and terribly sorry for your loss.