On May 7, 2017, we lost one of our five beautiful daughters. Losing Maddie altered our lives.
As a Chief Deputy Coroner, I investigate death and talk to families who have experienced loss every day. But nothing in my 16 years on the job could ever have prepared me or my family for this devastating loss. Maddie had been with her friends and teachers at an overnight, after-prom event at school, making great decisions that night by not drinking alcohol or doing drugs. But on the drive home the next morning, she fell asleep at the wheel and struck a semi-tractor trailer head on. Maddie died instantly.
I got the call from the police dispatcher about the incident, and then I received another call saying it was Maddie. I remember not knowing how I was going to tell Maddie’s sisters, and thinking there must have been a mistake. The hardest conversation was with my wife, as I explained that there still was time to allow Maddie to donate.
Maddie’s gift will touch approximately 67 lives. Not long ago, we received a letter from Saving Sight that stated Maddie’s corneas were placed with a 5-year-old girl. Knowing Maddie’s giving spirit, I am sure she is smiling down on us every day because we allowed her to help that little girl.