September 17, 2017

The afternoon of September 17, 1984 the world of my family, friends and community was forever changed. The disappearance of my sister, Vicki Lynne, would become so much more than we ever knew.

In the days and months that she was missing, people tied yellow ribbons to everything as a symbol of hope for her safe return. On February 7, 1985, Vicki had been missing 143 days. To bring a positive token of love and hope for her safe return, our family with students & teachers from Homer Davis Elementary School, planted a Palo Verde tree in the courtyard. Yellow ribbons were tied to the branches of the tree. https://youtu.be/v0W4U0GLhDo

For the next 30 years the tree grew tall and strong, blooming yellow flowers, still representing hope as we fought to bring justice to her. In October of 2015, the tree was uprooted and blown over in a storm. We were devastated that the beautiful symbol of love and hope was forever gone, and although we thought to replace it we knew we never could properly do so.

With the help of some amazing men, we were able to have a bench made from the wood of the Palo Verde tree and just a few short days before school started this August, the bench was placed in the front office of Homer Davis Elementary bringing back to the school the beautiful symbol of hope in Loving Memory of Vicki Lynne.

My mom and dad were able to take a special part of the tree which they will hang in their dining room, it will have the scripture “With God all things are possible” Matthew 19:26 placed with it.

I’m so very grateful for all those involved in making this possible. What started out in February of 1985 to be a positive tribute to my sister, still gets to be part of our lives for years to come.

A very special thanks to Jaime Sirminski who spearheaded the project and was able to put it all together, Rob Assenmacher, of Kevin Stout Operations who did the the CAID laser cut of the butterfly backing, and Matt McDonald of MHM Resources for milling the wood. I hope you realize what an incredible gift you have made by taking something so important to so many and making it beautiful again. 

To Dr. Baker, Superintendent of Flowing Wells Unified School District, Mr. Dunbar, Principal of Homer Davis School,Chad Miller, Principal Flowing Wells Junior High School, and all the staff, thank you for encouraging us to keep a piece of Vicki’s memory forever part of the school.

Vicki lives on in so many of us, our hopes are to continue to honor her in a positive and beautiful way. I encourage you, today especially, on the 33rd anniversary of her disappearance to share any stories you may have about her. If you never had the chance to meet her, share how her life and death impacted you… we will never be able to know all those who she has touched, but we do love to know her voice in strong in us all.

If you happen to stop in and sit on the bench, be sure to share a picture here or via Facebook. 

Today we will honor the beautiful little freckled face, blue eyed girl who lives in our heart forever.

Don’t forget Vicki Lynne.

The Dugout.

The Dugout.

Where new friendships are formed, hardships are overcome, laughter is shared, encouragement is given, and memories of a lifetime are made.

When I think back to my days playing softball, I honestly can’t tell you how many games or tournaments we won. How many times I struck out or made the game winning hit. What I can tell you now is the friendships that were formed behind the chain link fences of Jacob’s Park, in the “dugout” came something so incredibly special.

As I listened to Coach Beau talk to the girls Sunday after a tough lose to the Avalanche, I knew he saw so much more than most as we were putting the tough weekend we had behind us. I kept thinking about the quote, “The strongest people aren’t always the people who win, but the ones who don’t give up when they lose.”

Let’s face it, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and not be able to move forward. What I love about this game is the ability to take teachable players exactly how to do that very thing. Move forward. Inning by inning. Hit by hit. Breathe. Let it go.

Regardless of the tough weekend, our girls show so much GRIT when they come together. We did show our age, we are a young team of mighty Emeralds, and we made rookie mistakes. I know I look forward to watching them continue to grow.

I just know that these last weeks the girls have shown me (I’m sure many will agree) more than I expected … it speaks volumes for the potential that lies within. That is what is truly more important than any win, is the desire within. Not to be the best, but to always give your best. All things our girls are learning inning by inning in the dugout.

Shout outs to:

Taylor and Nakia in the circle last weekend. WOW. Just WOW! These two girls stood in and pitched their hearts out. They both lead their team into the weekend and kept us in the games.

Charolette had a great play stopping an infield hit and throwing to Kyleigh right out of the box Saturday morning. She also had an excellent infield pop fly catch against Polson later in the day.

Ellie grabbed a bunt and threw to Ky at fist to get another infield out in that first game Saturday morning. She had a great play catching an infield fly ball Sunday against the Avalanche to get the out and end a tough inning.

Rylee grabbed a hard hit and making the out with Ky, continuing the spree of great plays in a tough game Saturday morning.

Kyleigh had great plays defending first with her team.

Nakia snagged an infield pop fly Sunday morning against the Avalance that had us on our feet. 

Kiera, she’s a fighter in the batters box. This girl is one to watch, I am still putting my money on her for a homer before anyone else. She’s hungry, I know she will get it.

Addison and Madison are battling every inning in the box and in the field. I’m not going to ever call favorites with any of these amazing girls, but I will say these two have the best smiles and those smiles are contagious whether we are winning or losing… they are gifts we all need on and off the fields. 

As for Mackenzie, I think she’s found what she loves, and it’s behind home plate. She caught 6 of the 12 innings we played last weekend and came into her own. She gave her heart, and we will nurture that fire that’s there…

My favorite moment of the weekend was Sunday mornings opening cheer the girls did. I didn’t record it, it’s the first one I’ve missed, but I was coming back from the ladies room and was late to the punch. The game starting cheer included the girls bringing their coaches into it… it shows a lot about what they think of them and I hope that years from now they have these men in their life cheering them on.

Most importantly, I hope that they form a lifetime of friendships in the dugouts they share now.