My Turn: A mother's thanks to Juneau after her son's fatal accident

Posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Numerous times I have tried to write this, but the tears keep smudging the words. Even now as I am writing this, I weep. As all of you know our son, Skyler Lee Kim, was the unfortunate victim of a tragic accident on Oct. 20.

Almost immediately from the time we found out, the support has been overwhelming - both emotional and physical. The agony we felt and still feel to this day has been greatly shouldered by this community. The flowers, teddy bears, mementos and candles that sprung up remind me of "Pay it Forward" (a must-see movie with Helen Hunt), and it showed me what a special boy Skyler is and all that he represented to people's lives. Seeing the shrine is like a Band-Aid on my heart. I visit it at least twice a day, even once at 5 in the morning, to light a candle for our son. For all of you who stopped by, waved, left flowers, notes, teddy bears, lit candles, prayed and wept as you went by - we sincerely thank you.

We want to thank all the emergency crews from the paramedics to the firemen to the police officers to all the wonderful people at Bartlett Regional Hospital who tried to save our son. Not only did they try and save him, but also they provided comfort and support to my family at a very crucial time and we thank you.

We especially want to thank the Rev. Sam Dalin; that wonderful and strong man was there from the beginning. I remember him holding me up as I crumbled to the floor in despair finding out for the first time about this tragedy. He even talked for hours with John in the wee hours of the morning, just to listen. And I remember him standing by my side at the service; he was the only thing keeping me from collapsing. Our deepest thanks goes to you.

We want to thank my mom and stepdad for smoothing the bumps on this horrific journey. We also want to thank my best friend, Lorie Rounds, she was and still is my pillar of strength. And many gracious thanks to my sister, Victoria Swisher; and Darlene, Steven, Sasha and Jessica Hutson for dropping everything to fly here and lend the support and love only families can provide.

Our heartfelt thanks and sorrow also goes to Fritz Corpuz. He was a godfather to our son and we are saddened by his loss as well. We also want to thank Tracey McNaughton, Ginger Piper, Kara Patch, Lisa Stoller, Mary Smalley and Cynthia Salazar, and my other old co-workers from Health and Social Services, Gary Speck, Sarah, Hannibal and Isabella Eala, Gino from the Canton House and so many more. I'm sorry if I haven't mentioned your name - I barely remember mine right now.

I know this is long-winded, but we owe so much thanks to so many people. I want to thank Alaska Memorial Park for providing the passage to our son's journey to heaven. I want to thank every business that provided everything to make such a beautiful service: Costco, Safeway, Super Bear, A&P, Breeze-In, McDonalds's, Fred Meyer and the Division of Investments. Thank you for all the flowers, the bubbles, the bagpipers and the violin/cello group. Thank you to the people that wrote and sang that beautiful song. Thank you to all of you that you supplied everything from chairs to food to coffee to Kleenex to hugs. Thank you also goes to Copy Works, the Juneau Empire, KTOO, KATH, Rick Pruett, KINY, TAKU-105, Front Street Photo and Brian Wallace. Thank you Glacier Valley Elementary School for providing the gym for the service, all the teachers, the principal and the students. I also want to thank Fred Meyer, where I work, for allowing me time to grieve before I come back and provide the best customer service you all deserve. Our last, but not final, thanks goes to all of you who have contributed to the financial burdens of this tragedy - I know that some kids even raided their piggy banks. So to the ones who left their names and the ones who chose to be anonymous, we thank you.

After all is said and done we still weep. We weep for our son, we weep for this senseless tragedy and we weep for the driver. We know that he is anguishing inside and we want him to know that we do not blame him - it was just a tragic accident that never should have happened and we are sorry to him.

But I must sign off now - the tears are blurring my vision. But we swear to the community that our son's death will not be in vain. We will do all we can to make the streets safer for everyone from the jogger to the elderly person to the child on their way to school. Something good will come of this.

Thank all of you and God bless Skyler.

• Christine Judson is the mother of Skyler Lee Kim. She wrote this with the assistance of John Hutson and Tazer Stone.

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