Ridgway resident Brenda Drone tragically died on Wednesday, July 22 in Chattanooga, Tn as a result of a water related accident. Brenda was 61 years old and visiting her daughter and family there. She was the Administrative Assistant at the Wabash Valley Farm Services in Ridgway. The family has asked to relate what happened that day through the eyes of them as her daughter and granddaughter were present. Below is a statement released from the family.
It was a beautiful
I’m sad for the times we were distracted. I somehow had this thought all morning of “love your mom well in this moment.” I used to correct her verb conjugation, thankfully this day I didn’t. How absurd to even care when a beautiful heart and soul is in front of you. I’m thankful for the way Jesus overlooks all my shortcomings. I want to be more like that.
We then made plans to meet Savanna for paddle boarding, something my girls and I have done many times. Mom seemed excited to try something new. Every time she came to visit we went on little adventures and she would light up with that infectious smile in joy of her accomplishment. We rented the paddle boards near the river and were told it may be a little late of a start since the current had picked up. We told them we would wait by the dock. There was a short discussion over whether or not anyone was going to bring a phone for pictures – I told her I would jump out and take some on our way back. We chatted a little bit longer about dating and mom chuckled; "I know, 'no missionary dating.'"
Shortly after we were loaded up. I went first, followed by Savanna and then my mom. We waited while mom learned and we even helped instruct her. (Many have asked why she wasn’t wearing a life vest. We now know it is the law in Tennessee to wear a vest while paddling, but we were never instructed to wear one, and there were no signs or warnings for mandatory usage of Personal Flotation Devices.)
I teased that she was a pro as she quickly picked it up and we started paddling against the current, Mom enjoyed the views of the cliffs and homes along the brow. We then paddled to the nearby island, mom pulled over and watched as Savanna and I practiced some yoga. She wanted so badly to learn and Sierra was going to teach her some that evening after we all cooked dinner together and mom was going to make her famous fruit pizza.
We began paddling back. The current was a bit wild – as if it couldn’t decide which way it was going. Again, mom was like a pro at this point. She did great and was happy to be getting an arm workout. Savanna got to the dock first, pulled her board up and then I arrived. I sent Savanna out on my board to meet Mom. She smiled that beautiful smile of hers, as I kept motioning them to get into the frame of the picture. I took several pictures of the two of them, then a few of mom as she was heading back to the dock. I turned to take a few of Savanna and I heard a sound, a thud followed by a splash. Mom had run into a parked construction barge and fell off her board.
I watched for her to come up. Within seconds I began yelling “She’s not coming up! She’s not coming up! Who has a vest? Who can help? Someone call 911 NOW!”. There was a guy behind me who was zipping up his vest and he dove in after her. I called 911 and made my way over to the barge where I began running around begging and pleading for them to hurry and seeking help. It was the most horrific moment of my life. We were helpless and my mother was lost in the murky water.
After many minutes the construction workers began to motion for us to run to the other side, about 100 yards away. A police officer saw my mom floating in the river, he motioned a boat over and they pulled her out of the water. We saw my strong mom being delivered to the bank, limp. We begged God for healing as the first responders began administering CPR to the lifeless beautiful woman. It had been 20 minutes since she fell into the water. Twenty minutes without a pulse. We went to the emergency room at Erlanger praying the whole way. Family and friends met us there. People were being summoned for prayer and the body of Christ came together to support one another. After we had been there about 20 minutes there was news of a pulse, then stabilized blood pressure, then perhaps a small amount of brain damage, although they said everything may not have shown up in the first scan. We had a moment to breathe and unknowingly prepare for the next battle.
Jimmy, Jaime, Grandma LaFary, Justin and Krystal began heading this way along with Greyson and Regan. A physician then called me back for a conversation. He began saying that Mom showed more signs of brain damage than he thought and that we should begin cooling her body. Then it would be a wait and see for 36 hours as they cooled her and then began to warm her to body temperature. This would stop any further swelling of her brain. We decided as a family to start the cooling process. We were preparing to see the effects in the next 36 hours.
Within an hour I was called back again, her blood pressure was dropping and she was showing signs of organ failure. We entered a tug of war with heaven. Praying, believing, pleading. It’s as if at one point I received a tap on the shoulder from Mom saying, “Love you! I’ll see you soon!” Scriptures were being sent at this time by my friend Kay Arthur saying “To be absent in the body is to be present with our Lord.” As well as “Beautiful in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” This was a holy and tragic moment. We decided to honor mom well in her transition by singing worship songs over her, playing worship music, thanking her, pouring out our love on her, kissing her forehead and holding her, until the very last minute.
The rest of the family arrived just as mom’s body gave up. We were all there together, her children and some of her grandchildren as well as her loving devoted mother, Delores.
I have a sense that Mom took one glimpse of Jesus, and said “ I’m not going back.”
Arrangements for Brenda's funeral service is set for Saturday night July 25, 2015 visitation at the Crossroads Bible Church in Norris City and her funeral on Sunday at the church. You may view her full obituary at www.coxandson.com
The annual Dinner Auction at St. Kateri Catholic Church is Saturday, July 25, 2015. This will be the 3rd such event after the devastating Tornado of 2012 destroyed the church. All the funds raised are going to the rebuilding of the church. The doors open at the St. Joseph Gym at 4;30 PM. Tickets are $25 which include a good meal, lots of entertainment, the silent auctions, live auction and ends with a band. There are tickets still available so come out and enjoy a good night with friends and help a great cause. There are many great items being auctioned.
The Gallatin County Athletic Boosters, with help from the Music Boosters and the Jr. High Student Council, was able to purchase a projector and a 10' x 12' screen for the high school gym. This purchase will not only be a huge asset to the athletic programs, but also to the school. The plans are to highlight student accomplishments during sporting events, which could range from meeting AR goals to organizations receiving honors to student competitions. There will also be opportunities for crowd involvement with trivia questions and such.
We will also be selling ad space during halftime and between games of all high school volleyball and high school girls and boys basketball games. The ad will be a 30 second business card type ad that will run at all the above mentioned events for the school year. An ad will cost $200 for the year and only 20 spaces will be sold. Ads will be sold on a first come, first served basis. If you are interested or have questions, please contact Sara Rushing at 313-2198.
Thursday, Juy 9, 2015
The Gallatin County Farm Bureau hosted their annual Legislative Lunch at the Ridgway Park. Aprroximately 75 members attended the even for a great meal consisting of a Ribeye Sandwich cooked on site along with homegrown sweet corn, potatoe sald and desert. The food was outstanding. Farm bureau board members prepared the meal that was enjoyed by all.
Attending was State Senator Gary Forby, who talked about the budget problems of the State, he said the problem was playiing politics. Forby stated that Governor Rauner and Speaker Madigan are the problem of getting this fixed. He stated he would keep working for a fair budget. Also in attendance was a representative from Congressman Shimkus office who gave a very good talk on the issues he is working, especialy EPA, navigatable waters, crop ins and others. Rep. Brandon Phelps, Senator Durbin also sent representatives in their place.
Below is Senator Forby addressing the crowd.