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Show of support: Union Grove community gathers in wake of wreck that killed man, granddaughter

By Christina Lane clane@etnconline.com
June 18, 2012 at 4:21 a.m.


Cash Young's eyes filled with tears as he looked out on the faces of the multitude of people who came together Friday evening to pray for his family.

"I thank you all for coming out here tonight for my family," Young said, as he began to cry. "My dad was a great man. They say my dad didn't suffer, and I thank God for that."

About 150 people assembled Friday evening at Union Grove High School's Glyn Johnston Stadium to remember the lives of Brent Young, 45, and 7-month-old Kennedi Burks, who died in a three-vehicle wreck Thursday near White Oak.

"There are a lot of people hurting because this is such a good family. There isn't enough paper to write down how wonderful this family is," organizer Schana Phillips said. "And, as Mr. (Brian) Gray, the superintendent of Union Grove schools, said - when people are hurting, they need a place to go."

The school district opened up the stadium for members of the grieving community to assemble and pay tribute to the families through prayer.

On Thursday, a car carrying Brent Young, his wife, Mary Nicole Young, and their granddaughter, Kennedi, was stopped in the westbound lane of U.S. 80 when it was hit from behind by a pickup, driven by Jared Tuel, 24, of White Oak, according to police.

The car was pushed into oncoming traffic, where it collided with an SUV. The SUV rolled while swerving in an attempt to avoid the crash.

Mary Nicole Young, who was driving the car, and the driver of the SUV, Patsy Harrell, 65, are recovering. Brent Young died Thursday. The baby, who was flown to a children's hospital in Dallas, died Friday.

"They were a wonderful, God-loving family," friend Linda Miller said. "Nicole and Brent would take the kids with him while they would work on houses. They were very close and their faith was strong. Nicole is a prayer warrior for anybody, anytime."

Phillips said those in attendance Friday night were not doing anything that the Youngs and the Burks wouldn't do for them.

"I went to school with Lauren (Kennedi's mother)," Phillips said. "Once you're part of the Union Grove family, you stay part of it. That's how Union Grove is."

Tim Barnett asked people to continue to remember the family six months and a year from now. He said the community needs to have an ongoing ministry to the family that lost a child, a father and a grandfather.

"We have a ripple effect. This accident, this tragedy has affected hundreds of people," Barnett said. "Tonight we have to remember two things - one, we're a community, and two, God is still in control."

Barnett said he and his wife lost a child about 10 years ago, and they faced a lot of the same questions the Burks and the Youngs face today.

"God allows things to happen in our lives that cause us to rely on Him, that bring people together," Barnett said.

He told the community what the family needs most right now is space to breathe and prayers of support.

"Remember Kennedi and Brent," Barnett said. "And pray for Dillon and Lauren, Nicole and Cash."

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