By Judy Storr
It was Friday morning July 1, 2013
The little town of Mannon, Illinois was stirring out of a peaceful slumber to face another day. Another day of hot, sweltering heat that had besieged the area for days with temperatures into the 90 and 100 degree range.
Three boys with tousled hair were waking up with anticipation of yet antler day in the country. The loved the country life where you could catch frogs, hear the crickets chirping at night and running free and wild through a field of wheat.
The Bullock family enjoyed the morning with their three boys, as many of us do, not knowing that within hours their lives would be changed forever…
Jesse, age 12, Nic, age 9, Thomas age 6, and their cousin Jamie 17, walked over to the Edwards River around eleven or so in the morning. Being hot and sweaty they decided to cool off from the heat for a bit. Four boys went to the river that morning only two returned.
We will never know fully what happened on that fateful day, but what we do know is that two amazing boys lost their lives on that hot summer day in July. These were two boys with hopes, dreams and ambitions, much like our own children. Boys who could test the patience of Mother Teresa, yet boys who were gentle and kind to rescue every stray animal they could.
I got to spend some time with the family in the later hours on that tragic day. The strength and humility that radiate from Jesse ( the father) and Emily (the mother) left me feeling very humbled.
The family told me that they felt truly blessed that their youngest son Thomas had been pulled to safety by their cousin Jamie. They were thankful that four lives could have been lost that day but two were spared. they were thankful that local and neighboring communities fire, police and search teams pulled together and used all their resources and knowledge to bring Jesse and Nic home, to be laid to rest.
The boys will be laid to rest in the small cemetery of Mannon which is nestled away in a small quiet location. The boys will forever hear the beloved sounds of Mother Nature as only those who live in and love the joy of the country.
The Bullock family, especially Jesse and Nic, has left imprints on our hearts as we join the family in their loss. Their loss has made us hug our children tighter, listen closer to their small voices s they share their lives with us. But most important they have taught us to not let a day go by without telling those you love how important they are to you and that you love them just the way they are.
Page 2 of 2 - It is now our turn as neighbors and community to step up and make their loss…our loss. Parents should never have to bury a child before themselves, let alone two children. But the Bullocks have put their faith and truss in the Lord and take comfort knowing that the boys are with their Grandma Norma and Grandpa Dave and that they are begin held in the loving arms of Jesus.
It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I ask you to be part of a village to give these two boys a final resting place. We as a community ned to take the financial burden off this family as much as possible. This family need to concentrate on remembering and loving their sons.
I implore you to send whatever donations that your hearts prompt you to do to the Bullock family in care of the Joy State bank, 101 West Main Street, Joy. A special account has been established n loving memory of the boys to help with funeral costs.
One more thing, please. When you kiss your children goodnight and ask God to bless them and keep them in his loving care… would you say one more prayer for Jesse and Nic?