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Accident victim left her mark as a caring person who liked to help othersPosted Friday, October 1, 2010, at 10:10 AM
Amanda Collins Stalcup in a 2006 photo taken at the Boys and Girls Club in Bloomfield. (By Nick Schneider)
From the day we are born, we are facing dying, in a future time, be it a week, month or years.
Death has no flashing red lights and has no clear distinction between pauper and elite.
It is a one-time experience for us all and is repeated throughout the world, everyday.
Christians hold on to the belief that death is just the beginning of something greater, an eternal life in heaven.
I was reminded of death's sting and its uncertainty this week after hearing of the tragic death of 29-year-old Amanda Collins Stalcup in a traffic accident Monday on Old Lyons Road/County Road 200 South just west of County Road 800 West.
Her vehicle hit a tree head-on.
Stalcup, along with the three passengers -- her 12-year-old son Trey Yoder, an 8-year-old daughter Madison Hughes and 1-year-old, Wyatt Zimmerman, her boyfriend's child -- were entrapped in the car.
The children were not seriously hurt.
Madison remained in Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis this week in good condition while the other two youngsters have been treated and released.
I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Amanda nearly four years ago when she was serving as an intern at the Boys and Girls Club in Bloomfield. I remember Amanda possessed a beaming smile and a sincere passion to help others.
She enjoyed being around youngsters and helping them to make the right kinds of decisions.
She had a positive attitude and plenty of compassion learned from life's tough lessons that she's experienced even at her young age.
At the time I talked with her, she was a happy, wheelchair-bound Ivy Tech State College student, who was majoring in Human Services
She wasn't letting her handicap bother her in the least.
Amanda told me she learned to deal with her handicap -- thanks to her Christian faith.
At 13, she was severely injured in a wreck on a road between Worthington and Jasonville. She was a passenger in a vehicle that slammed into the only tree on that side of the roadway.
Amanda was airlifted to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis in critical condition. Her back was broken and she remained paralyzed the rest of her life.
She spent more than four months in the hospital recuperating and started her rehabilitation in mid-1994.
Greene County Sheriff Terry Pierce told me this week that he remembered the first wreck and said it was terrible and ironic that Amanda's death came in a traffic accident.
She told me her recovery experiences gave her compassion and a desire to succeed in life.
"This has just been my calling," Amanda said.
At the time, Amanda had already completed her 160-hour volunteer internship, but she continued to come to work every day as a volunteer -- helping with the programming until she found a paying job.
The mother of two children was raised in the Linton area until she was in the fourth grade. Then her family moved to Fort Wayne. She returned to Greene County in 2001.
Amanda said her serious injury left her with some initial disappointments. She wanted to be a cheerleader and she loved to play basketball and volleyball.
Her attitude soon changed after she visited with a wheelchair-bound doctor at Methodist Hospital who told her he pursued his dream of being a medical doctor, despite his obvious handicap.
"That same day, I got up out of bed and fought and fought and never had another time when I had any regrets," Amanda told me.
She later attended Charity Baptist Christian School in Huntington and her dreams still became a reality.
"I got to play wheelchair basketball. I played wheelchair volleyball. I was a cheerleader after I had my accident," Amanda acknowledged.
Amanda said her life was changed by her handicap, but her relationship with God had helped her along the way.
"He's the one that has allowed me to be as strong as I am and be able to do the things that I do," she said. "I couldn't have done any of this without God, my friends and family."
I remember I came away from that interview impressed with Amanda's positive attitude and her drive to help others.
Relatives and friends will say their final good-byes to Amanda at a funeral service Friday evening at Welch and Cornett Funeral Home in Linton.
Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/page....
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