“I came across another one of her motivational messages, this time in a photo taken of the palm of her hand, on which she had written: “Finish It.” That short message, which I now wear 24/7 on a bracelet on my wrist”, reminds me of this verse: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).”
A father’s tribute of love to his daughter
By: Michael Freemen
At 3:30 on February 3, 2020 a small group of cross-country runners at Moore High School left the school and started down the sidewalk on what was supposed to be a 10-minute run through a residential neighborhood. Less than a minute later, a driver intoxicated by alcohol and marijuana swerved across the oncoming lane of Main Street going 78 miles per hour struck the teens, critically injuring several. My seventeen-year-old daughter Rachel was killed instantly. Her friend Yuridia Martinez died the next morning, and her friend Kolby Crum died twelve days later.
Three lives were ended that day and many more were scarred forever because of the senseless, selfish act of one man.
Rachel was loved by everyone she knew. She was a dedicated and determined athlete, having been a student of Tae Kwon Do before pursuing running as a freshman. To stay conditioned, she even joined the MHS swim team her senior year. She had just recently been accepted to Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, on an academic and cross-country scholarship, and was so excited to enter this next phase of her life. She literally was counting down the days until her 18th birthday—a milestone she would never reach.
Rachel was a born-again Christian too, and her faith was evident to those around her. After her death, the stories told to us by her friends were heartwarming—stories of how she would go out of her way to befriend and include those who weren’t necessarily part of the “in crowd,” stories of how she was everyone’s “best friend.” Rachel had a habit of writing herself little motivational notes. After her death, I found one on her dresser on a little scrap of paper—it simply said: “I want to trust God more.”
In the days and weeks after the incident (we refuse to call it an “accident”), the Moore community came together once again as it had in previous tragedies such as the massive tornados of 1999 and 2013, displaying the “Moore Strong” spirit that it’s known so well for. Although the outpouring of love and support toward us was immense, our loss was more so. Parents should not have to bury a child. Our comfort came, and still comes, only from the certain knowledge of two things: God is good, and she is with Him.
Those who injure, maim, and kill others while driving impaired almost always have previous convictions for impaired driving, as in the case of the man who killed my daughter. Sadly, we as a society don’t sufficiently value the thousands of impaired driving victims, else we’d do more to keep these habitual offenders off the streets. My hat goes off to each and every one of the many patrol officers, investigators, and prosecutors who do everything within their power to accomplish just that.
After Rachel’s death, I was able to get into her phone and view all of her photos—a priceless treasure indeed. I came across another one of her motivational messages, this time in a photo taken of the palm of her hand, on which she had written: “Finish It.” That short message, which I now wear 24/7 on a bracelet on my wrist, reminds me of this verse: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). On February 3, 2020, Rachel finished the race that God set before her, and she finished well. May we all do the same.
More of Rachel’s story may be found at https://www.facebook.com/RachelDawnRuns.