It’s Day 4 of what ordinarily would be a quiet week on most every college campus in the U.S. during Spring Break. Unfortunately, life in Hobbs New Mexico today, like yesterday, won’t be routine. Campus should be empty but the media has descended on USW with a job to do and equipped with the determination to do it here. Tragedy draws them because of their vocation and the public appetite for information. We understand.
The USW family is in mourning and will grieve for many foreseeable hours and days, and although things will normalize in the weeks ahead, months and years into the future we will not be the same. Nine precious souls were lost on Tuesday night, including a father and son, a wonderful coach and mentor, and 6 young adults with great futures ahead of them. Two others thankfully survived the accident and hopefully will make a full recovery.
If our story stopped here it would be a sad one. But it won’t and it can’t. All those whose lives ended abruptly on Texas Highway 1788 earlier this week passed on to eternal rest to what our faith tells us is a better life. Our problem with that though is how and when. Simply put, they left us too tragically and way too early.
When students return from Break early next week we will gather in the Maddox Student Life Center as a campus community. Crisis management team members from throughout Lea County will lead us in the healing process. Thank God for them! Likely a student led prayer vigil will follow later in the week, with a memorial service coming some time later in the month.
As the only Christian university in the state we will rely on our faith to get us through. We know from Psalm 46 that God is our strength and refuge. We also know from the outpouring of emails, texts, phone calls, visitations, donations, balloons, and flowers that we are not alone in our grief. People care and a great many are making us aware by their prayers and support.
Local residents from here and around here have been tremendous. There is not a better response to need when the chips are down anywhere in the U.S. than in Lea County. Private calls from local, state, and federal authorities and elected representatives have been helpful, uplifting, and in a word, amazing. Alumni, coaches, educators, golfers, parents, and citizens from every stripe have been overwhelming in their empathy and encouragement. It is truly humbling to be the recipient of so much grace and compassion.
Thank you Hobbs and Lea County for all your support, including thanks to all honorary Mustangs who have joined the USW family in our time of need from all over the region and the country. We feel the love and we love you back!