Tribute to Two Lost in Auto Fatalities
VIDEO: Look what a great memorial one Eureka resident did for two local women who died in auto accidents on Highway FF within about a half mile of each other. This roadway's crash rate is at least 25 percent more than state average for two-lane roads.
Raising awareness about road safety was what Saturday morning was about for a group of 70 Eureka volunteers. Most were acquainted with fatality victims on a personal level.
Tim Schulte has known the Turnbo family of Eureka ever since they started attending Eureka United Methodist Church together more than a decade ago. He said he faced Saturday's dedication to the lives of auto accident victims Karen Turnbo and Kaela Archambault with "sadness about what happened but joy about what has come of it."
Schulte is the director of Eureka United Methodist youth ministries. He served with Karen Turnbo before she was killed last September in a single-truck accident on Highway FF, saying she was a "reflection of God wherever she went."
"I think Karen instilled that same faith in her children, Bain and Bailey, who were amazingly strong through losing not one, but both parents, to car accidents," he said.
Their father, Ty Turnbo, died in a car accident on Highway W during the Fourth of July weekend about 10 years ago, Schulte said.
Schulte captured thousands of photos from Saturday's tribute event and turned them into the memorial video that accompanies this article.
"There are so many people who drive that section of road without really paying attention," he said. "We've all been hoping and praying about it. Now with the new safety billboard, maybe fewer people will text and drive, and hopefully fewer drivers will speed through there."
He said it has been amazing how fast changes are coming about, related to correcting the dangers of Highways FF and W, which are located on the border of Eureka and northwestern Jefferson County. "With all the awareness created about the problems, maybe it will alleviate the pain of other families by avoiding more accidents in the future."
"It's very powerful what's happening in the area," he said. "I particularly felt that, and got choked up when Shawn (Archambault) unveiled the new safety billboard Saturday and said: 'Now we're sharing Kaela with you.'"
Schulte said there was one obvious song choice to use as the background for the video dedicated to Karen and Kaela: I Will Rise by artist Chris Tomlin. He said Karen loved that song and often used it during the contemporary services at Eureka United Methodist when she served as the worship leader. "It was one of her favorites, and was associated with anything tied to her life. It seems to be the perfect one for now, too."