Memorial for Grayling golfers unveiled at country club
It's been more than a year since the car crash that killed Grayling golf team coach Jason Potter and student Louis Menard.
Friday night, community members came out to support the team as a special tribute was unveiled at the Grayling Country Club.
A memorial patio with a fireplace and engraved bricks was dedicated to the golf team and the community.
At the event tonight, the five students involved in the crash, as well as the family of Louis Menard, were given scholarships from the golf recovery fund.
Where the memorial is situated was Potter's favorite spot on the golf course.
â??It was a perfect spot right off the 18th green,â?? said Chet Wheeler, Grayling assistant golf coach and close friend of Potter. â??[Itâ??s] somewhere where we can watch golfers come and tell stories, maybe tell a little lie about how our golf round went and just enjoy the campfire.â??
Plans for the Grayling golf tribute project started just a week after the accident on April 29, 2013.
Family of those who were killed and the boys who were injured are grateful for the memorial.
â??It means more than words can say,â?? said Jayme Potter, Jason Potterâ??s sister. â??You will find me here often. You will find me here relaxing and talking about my brother. It's not something I hide. Everybody knows what happened. We continue to stay strong for each other and that's what he would want.â??
â??I don't know that there's a way to express that,â?? said Jake Hinkle who was seriously injured in the crash. â??Knowing that you almost lost her life and thereâ??s all of these people here trying to comfort you, it's truly a crazy experience to go through.â??
Engraved bricks line the patio with heartfelt messages. A fire spreads the warm wishes.
The Grayling golf roster from 2013 is flanked by boulders honoring Jason Potter, 28, and Louis Menard, 18.
â??I just wish that my other team mate and my coach could be here,â?? said Tyler Summers who was injured in the crash. â??I'm just thankful to be here.â??
â??It's a sad day and a triumphant day. Obviously, there are so many emotions wrapped up in this.
When you see [the students], they will cry, they will laugh, and smile. For me, I just like to see their reaction,â?? said Wheeler.
The memorial isn't just for country club members.
â??We did it for Jason. We did it for Louis. We did it for the boyâ??s golf team. It's for them and their families. It's for the whole community who stood by all of them last year while some of the boys were still in the hospital. It's a time for them to come together to share stories,â?? said Wheeler.
The tribute is a way to ensure their friends' memories will burn bright for years to come.
â??It's a good way to end a sad story. Hopefully we can use this to never forget Jason and Lewis and the rest of the team and try to move forward,â?? said Hinkle.
Hinkle is going into his senior year at Grayling this fall. Golf was a major form of therapy as he recovered from the accident.
â??It was kind of comforting for me to play golf. It restored my happiness and kind of got my mind off of things.â??
He was able to get back on the course this year, and even made it state finals.
â??It kind of made me think about the past and what happened and it was truly humbling and I'm proud.â??
This past season, the Grayling golf team started with 31 students, which is the largest turnout they've ever had.