2013-07-17 / Opinion

Thoughts, prayers go out for injured Lapeer East grad

Austin Greenleaf was a star player on the Lapeer East baseball and football squads. 
Photo by Brandon Pope Austin Greenleaf was a star player on the Lapeer East baseball and football squads. Photo by Brandon Pope Our thoughts and prayers go out to Austin Greenleaf, his family and friends, after the recent Lapeer East graduate was seriously injured Saturday afternoon in a rollover accident at Bowers and Roods Lake roads.

Austin, 18, was reportedly on his way to his girlfriend’s open house when the life-altering accident occurred. Not wearing a seatbelt, Austin was ejected from his Pontiac Grand Am which came to rest on its roof. He remains in serious condition at McLaren Lapeer Region, suffering back, head and neck injuries.

This sort of accident strikes a chord with all of us, because Austin had just completed high school and has his entire life in front of him, and now his long-term condition is uncertain as we all pull for his recovery after such a devastating injury.

Hearing of the accident with her Arcadia Township family, Gracie Bright woke up Tuesday morning with an idea to raise money to help Austin’s family pay the medical bills that are sure to mount. Only seven years old, Gracie asked her mother if she could sell lemonade from a stand her father built over the weekend.

Brought to tears by her daughter’s kind offer, mom agreed to help her daughter get stocked up to sell lemonade from her stand on rural Haines Road in Arcadia Township at 3556 Haines Road (the gravel portion, one mile east of Five Lakes Road). We’re hoping area residents will go a little out of their way this hot and humid week to purchase a cool drink and help raise money and hope for young Austin. They were planning to get supplies Tuesday and run the stand from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today (Wednesday) through Friday at their home.

It is this sort of generosity that brings a community together following a tragic accident. If a little girl and a lemonade stand along side the road can chip in to help out, think what the rest of us can do. Already more than $4,000 has been raised in the community through a website set up for this effort (see story by Krystal Johns on page 6A).

Austin’s accident puts a pit in the stomach of every parent who fears for the safety of their teenage children as they take to the road behind the wheel and embark on their adult life and its privileges. While the details of what caused the accident are sketchy, the fact is a well-liked young man is facing an uncertain future.

We urge teenage drivers and their parents to review safe driving practices, including to always use seatbelts and obey the posted speed limit.

What happened to Austin on Saturday is a reminder to all of us to savor life because it can change in an instant, from the excitement of a teenager looking forward to an unknown, yet exciting life ahead, to the reality of coping with a serious injury or illness.

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