Never shall I forget that first night, the first long night of my recovery.
Never shall I forget that hospital.
Never shall I forget the rushing doctors and nurses surrounding my head, stitching my wounds.
Never shall I forget the blood.
Never shall I forget the bright lights, the smell of alcohol.
Never shall I forget the worried looks, the tears.
Never shall I forget the feeling of not knowing whether I would wake up the next morning.
Never shall I forget the loneliness.
Never shall I forget the knowing that there was more bad news to come.
Never shall I forget the need to stay awake, the pain.
Never shall I forget wondering why God had let this happen.
Good Evening. I am Katrina Botell
And I am Brittany Botell
We are here to announce the winners of the first Tommy Botell Academic Achievement awards. But first a little bit about our brother, Tommy. On July 29th 2009 he went to be with our Lord. Our lives were forever changed that day. We miss him more than anyone can imagine. He is always on our minds, in our hearts, and in everything we do.
He was an amazing kid. He was kind, he was funny, and he was so smart. He loved life. He used to say that his life could not get any better; it was perfect. We miss his outlook on life, his cheerful smile, and his laughter. No matter what he was doing he always did his best..it was his cub scout motto and he lived it.
Tommy was in the top of his class. He loved learning and doing well at school. A couple months after he passed away we received his 3rd grade star testing results. He was advanced in all areas. He would have been so proud of himself. We were so very proud of him.
This academic achievement award was created in Honor of Tommy. Funds for this award come from the annual Tommy Botell basketball tournament that all of you, so graciously, put on every year in memory of our brother. We would like to thank all of you and would like to especially thank Mr. and Mrs. Hosler.
Tommy’s life had so much meaning. Events like the basketball tournament help to keep his meaningful life going. For this we will always be grateful to the Reeds Creek community. We are now able to take all the funds from the Tommy Botell basketball tournament and create fun ways to give back to Reeds Creek students, past and present.
A couple of weeks ago, with funds from the basketball tournament, my family was able to award a deserving Reeds Creek School graduate with a college scholarship. Class of 2011, please look for this award when you are a senior. You are all eligible for it. Just stay focused in high school. Get good grades, make plans for your future and live Tommy’s Motto; do your best. We hope to see an application from each one of you in 2015.
Now on to the first annual Tommy Botell academic achievement award. This award is based on academic performance. It is given to the two students with the highest GPA’s of the class of 2011.This award consists of their names being placed on a plaque which will be displayed at the school, a brand new HP laptop, and a 50 dollar American express card.
We are very proud to announce that the first Tommy Botell academic achievement award goes to…..Faith Winieki and Danielle Mincer.
In 2009, while on a hiking trip my son lost his earthly life and entered into his eternal life with our heavenly father. We created this scholarship in memory of Tommy and as a way of giving back to a community that gave us enormous amounts of love and support during those dark days of our lives.
The families of Reeds Creek School jumped right in to help us and give us comfort. Out of love for us and Tommy they created the Tommy Botell Basketball tournament. The money raised at this tournament is going straight back to the kids of Reeds Creek school by way of various awards and scholarships. The Tommy Botell Basketball Tournament funds this Tommy Botell Memorial Scholarship.
Qualifications are simple: attend Reeds Creek school from 4th thru 8th grade the years Tommy could not, and be an 8th grade graduate of Reeds Creek School. Well…if you know how small our school is then you know that narrows things down quite a bit. We had 3 applications to choose from. You would think that would make it easier but it didn’t because we know these kids, we know their families…. and they’re all great.
However, Reed Creek school principal Jake Hosler, my family, and I unanimously agreed that the person we have chosen is a perfect fit to receive the first Tommy Botell scholarship. She comes from one of those incredible families. They are always out at the school lending a hand to anyone in need. They are at every Tommy event, helping and giving us their support.
This girl is definitely a product of a loving and supportive family. She is caring, she is bright, and she is driven. She wants to help, as she calls them “all the creatures of our planet”. She wants to be zoologist, help save endangered animals, and find ways to protect ecosystems. She will be going to Cal Poly and majoring in Biology. No doubt in mind….she is going to be successful. She is Ms. Katie Parks.
May 11th, 2011 would have been Tommy’s 11th Birthday. It has been almost two years since he left us. It doesn’t get easier. We just find ways to cope and make it. I will never be okay with my son’s physical death but I am okay with not being okay with this. I have lost one of the three most precious people in my life and it is not okay. I will always hurt. I will always miss. I will always live looking backwards. This is the way it is. Someone posted that they feel sorry for anyone that knew Tommy. Although I know they are being sympathetic I feel the opposite. I feel sorry for anyone that never got to know Tommy. I am so fortunate that I knew him and he was a part of my life, no matter how short the time. He was so sweet and kind. He was the most loving boy I have ever known. He was so funny and so fun to be around. His attitude is one of the many things I miss. I keep trying to remind myself that this is a day to be happy. 11 years ago my son entered my life. I am so very grateful for that. This is my day to be happy. To celebrate a love that will never die. To give honor to a boy that will never be forgotten. To rejoice that his life on earth was shared with me. That is reason to celebrate! There are so many things about him that I miss. So many memories that I treasure. I am sad that there will be no more but I am so happy that I have so many. I miss my baby more than anyone could ever imagine. But I must remember “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss
Last year, on May 11th 2010, we started the Tommy Botell Book Exchange at Tommy’s school, Reeds Creek. When we thought about how we wanted to handle this day, where we wanted to be, and what we wanted to do, Reeds Creek was the only place that came to mind. We are continuing this new tradition this year. Brittany asked if she could take over the project in memory of her brother this year. She has done a marvelous job. The kids have been bringing in their books for months and Brittany has been collecting, counting, labeling and sorting. She has collected over 1,500 books this year from within the Reeds Creek School Community! Last year we had over 2,000 books donated from all over the county. Each book is labeled with this picture of Tommy and a quote from one of Tommy’s favorite authors Dr. Seuss. ”The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
After the kids pick out a few books they will get a carrot cake cupcake (Tommy’s Favorite), a book marker, and a Tommy Botell Book Exchange bracelet. Then, they can go sit outside on the lawn and enjoy their books and cupcake. It is nice to see all the kids excited about their “new to them” books. Also, seeing the kids hanging out on the grass reading, relaxing, and sharing their books is nice . It is emotionally hard, because I wish Tommy were here to enjoy the day too, but then I have to remind myself that the Tommy Botell Book Exchange would not be if he were here. Hard and sad. We celebrate this day about him without him. It is so very bittersweet.
“I’m glad we had the times together just to laugh and sing a song, seems like we just got started and then before you know it, the times we had together were gone.” Dr. Seuss
Happy Birthday Tommy. Last year, after the book exchange, we came home and wrote messages on balloons and sent them off at 3:57, the exact time Tommy entered our lives. Then, we made one of his favorite meals. We had his ocean meal; salmon (fish) with lots of lemon, broccoli (coral), and pasta (shells). This year we are going to do the same. I can’t help but wonder how tall he would be today. I can picture what he would look like. Here is a quote that would have made him, as he would say “laugh his head off”…”In my world, everyone’s a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!” Dr. Seuss
HAPPY 11th BIRTHDAY TOMMY!
By Katrina Botell
The clouds are dark in the sky.
A flash of light darts across the gloom,
And hundreds of raindrops fly by.
Troubles fall like large hail stones,
Bringing pain and deep despair.
The weight of the world falls onto my shoulders,
As cold water rolls down my face and soaks my hair,
But I stay standing alone in this place,
For I can only stop and stare.
I can feel the thunder deep in my chest.
It rocks the ground beneath me
Making me stumble and taking my breath.
I listen to the whispering of the trees all around me
As they rock and sway,
But I don’t move or make a sound.
I will not run away.
This world seems so dark and cold.
I can see no light through the shadows.
There is no hope that I can behold,
But it can only get better,
Or at least that’s what I am told.
There is a light waiting to be seen one day,
It will come out and our troubles will fade away.
All of a sudden, I can see the Son shining through.
A feeling of warmth overwhelms me
As he reveals this world that he drew.
The rays shine down lighting up the Earth from above
And brilliant colors sail across the sky,
Creating a rainbow, a reflection of His unconditional love.
As birds begin singing, I watch them fly,
And I finally feel safe and sheltered
As I look up to the sky.
I look all around me and can only stare,
He had never left me through this terrible storm
But was standing, guarding there.
Then I realized this storm was created just for me,
As a way to teach me faith and patience
Until I found Him and now I can see,
His arms were always open and waiting,
To be finally wrapped around me.
Another Year. Another Holiday. Another Day of Missing You. Like Every Day Always Thinking of You. Happy Thanksgiving My Love. I Would Not Trade My Thanksgivings with You for a Lifetime of Thanksgivings with Another. I Love You Son. Love, Your Mommy
I saw a life slip away
on what was supposed to be a perfect day
On a mountain in the sky,
I saw my dear brother fly
away to the Heavens
He was only two years older than seven
I Miss Him oh so Dearly
We celebrate him yearly
On the day he died I cried all my tears
and all of my fears
My life became oh so blue
for darkness came
now we will never be the same
I know that the devil and demons can’t tempt him anymore
for he is safe in the hands of the Lord.
by Brittany Botell