It's Happening: Happy 21st Birthday in Heaven Kurt Myers; Your Boots are Walking Strong

By Julie Perine on January 07, 2018 from It’s Happening via Connect-Bridgeport.com

It’s been six years since a tragedy struck our extended family; completely blindsided a mother, dad, brother and sister – not to mention other close relatives and friends of 15-year-old Kurt Myers.
Jeff, our youngest son Jacob and I were getting ready for church on Sept. 16, 2012, when we received a phone call that our young friend and the first cousin of our son-in-law Andrew had been found dead outside his Wheeling home.
 
We left the house early for Dola that day so we could be with local family members. They amazed me with their strength that day and they continue to do so today.
 
Kurt, a member of our church, Ten Mile Baptist, had an adventurous, outdoorsy, compassionate spirit. When he was in the area staying with his Grandma Harriet, Jacob asked every single day if he could go hang out with him. Just 12 years old, he looked up to Kurt, who showed him all the good fishing holes, where the crawdads hid and the best 4-wheeler paths. All these years later, we’re still hearing stories about their adventures along Route 20 in rural Harrison County.
 
Kurt was a friend to all. He loved hanging with his little cousin Della and his elderly relatives. So, it comes as no surprise that he had lots of friends at Wheeling Park High School, where he was then just a sophomore.
 
What was surprising is that Kurt consumed so much alcohol one Saturday night that it killed him. And his brave, amazing family has tirelessly educated young people about the dangers of alcohol poisoning since.
 
One of many efforts was the sharing of his story by his Aunt Pam Heaster, a teacher at Lewis County High School. The story fell upon the ears of Lesley Garton White, LCHS media teacher, who gathered her students and created a video for submission to the No School Spirits PSA Contest sponsored by The West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration (WVABCA). Included in the video is information about the Alcohol and Drug Overdose Prevention and Clemency Act, passed by the West Virginia Legislature in 2015. The act protects anyone who seeks medical assistance for an individual who has overdosed on alcohol or drugs. It is likely that the kids who were with Kurt were afraid to get help; fearing they would all get in trouble. So, hoping he would sober up on his own, he was dropped off outside his house. He never made it inside.
 
I was at LCHS last year when reps of the WVABCA made a No School Spirits Contest presentation. Titled “Do the Right Thing,” Kurt’s video hadn’t won the contest, but that was only because each moment of the video was important; too important to cut it down into the time parameter for the PSA as outlined in the contest. So instead, the video earned the second-place prize of $2,500 and took on a life of its own.
 
It became the basis for the Myers Manual, which will be adopted by the state and utilized as a tool to teach about the dangers of underage drinking and binge drinking. Earlier this week, Kurt’s parents Jackie and Wil Myers went to LCHS to meet with reps of the ABCA about the launching of the Myers Manual. 
 
"They went over the cirriculum they have developed for schools and we discussed each slide from their PowerPoinit and made suggested changes," Jackie said. "It is really going to provide a packaged lesson for use in high schools that will hopefully show kids exactly how alcohol affects your body. They developed it with (high school) age in mind."
 
The manual will utilize lots of visuals and facts and tell Kurt's story, relating the message to true-life story. 
 
"I was so impressed with their dedication to this all-too-common misunderstanding of youth to the dangers of alcohol," Jackie said. "They are going to make their changes and get it approved and deliver to schools within the next few months. I really hope that it is found to be a great tool and that it may save a life."
 
The Myers family said they cannot thank Lewis County High School faculty and students enough for creating the video and participating in the No School Spirits video contest. 
 
I commend Jackie and Wil – as well as Kurt’s siblings Greg and Lauren (Sciulli) - and all family members and friends for “Keeping the Boots Walking” for our young friend. He was taken too soon and he is missed greatly. It is the prayer of his family that his story will prevent this tragedy from happening to someone else.
 
This Tuesday would have been Kurt’s 21st birthday. How can you help advocate for his cause and maybe even save a life?
 
See the "Do the Right Thing" video below. 


Connect Bridgeport
© 2018 Connect-Bridgeport.com