LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – Spring Hill High School has much to celebrate.
The football team not only returned to the playoffs for the first time since 2004, but advanced to round 2, the area round, with a big win over Caddo Mills.
In East Texas, where football is king, that’s BIG.
But amidst the elation over that accomplishment, Panther Nation is showing that football isn’t everything and that compassion still counts.
Last Wednesday afternoon, Brandon Garret Seegers, 15, a freshman at Carthage High School, died in an ATV accident.
Brandon was a son of Bertis Gary Jr. and Patricia Ann Davis Seegers. He was a member of the undefeated Carthage Bulldogs freshman football team.
His death rocked his community.
Carthage High School has provided grief counselors for students and faculty, and the community itself has offered many prayers for the stricken family.
It is a community wrapping its arms around its own.
But now students from a different school, a different town, a different county, are adding their arms to that embrace.
On Monday, according to The Panther’s Paw, the Spring Hill student news site, the school’s student leadership and school organizations will offer education on ATV safety in an effort to prevent such a tragedy from striking their school.
Such education is surely needed. According to The Panther’s Paw, 700 people die and 136,000 go to hospital emergency rooms every year due to ATV accidents.
A 2018 report from the Consumer federation of America put Texas at number 6 in the nation that year for ATV related deaths with 13 reported fatalities.
Beyond providing safety education, though, the student leadership is urging other students to put aside Panther blue on Tuesday – in the midst of celebrating a huge playoff victory – and wear red, the color of the Carthage Bulldogs, in a show of support for that grieving school.
“The student body will wear red Tuesday, Bulldog colors, to show our solidarity and to remind ourselves of the gift of life.”Panther Paw
Brandon’s funeral will be 3 p.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church of Carthage.
The Spring Hill students are also offering spiritual solidarity.
“The Spring Hill community would like to offer condolences to our neighbors in Carthage ISD as they process and heal from the tragic accident that happened on Wednesday, November 13th, resulting in the loss of one of their students to an ATV accident just outside the city. Spring Hill, as well as the rest of East Texas, backs Carthage ISD and the student’s family during this painful time. Wearing red is one small sign that we are keeping Carthage in our thoughts and the safety of all students in our hearts.”Panther Paw
And in the midst of its pain, the grieving community has seen the compassion and empathy offered by neighbors.
Nothing can ease the family or community’s loss. But more arms in an embrace can help provide the strength needed to carry such a terrible burden. And the students of Spring Hill are generously offering theirs.
The kids are all right.