January 1, 2006
would be a day not like any other day. The sun was bright, the
warm and there were smiles everywhere. What a wonderful way to start
the New Year. As we combined boats on our vehicles our smiles
were more visible and the happiness in our hearts grew stronger.
Our journey from the Hanging Rock Access consisted of 15 paddlers,
5 canoes and 15 kayaks. It was wonderful. We laughed our way
down the river. We surfed, told paddling tales, talked about home projects
and about how yummy our cookout would be. Halfway down the river we took
a short break so our open boaters could get some circulation to their
feet. After about 10 minutes it was
time to have a bit more fun. It was also time to egg each other
on to do a New Years Day Eskimo Roll. We laughed and played our way
down to Moratock Park. It was
now time for me to perform my first Eskimo roll of the year. It
was a success. It was now time for Rod
to follow up with his roll. Once again it was a success in the frigid
water. As the paddle ended you could see the joy and happiness
in everyone's eyes.
paddlers changed clothes and loaded their boats back on their vehicles
the unexpected happened. Here are the brief details. Earl Hamby gasped and
dropped to the ground. Bill found Earl and called for help. Both
Kelly and Bill started performing CPR on Earl. Pam and I got
blankets while someone called 911. Sarah relieved Bill to helping
Kelly administer CPR. The Sheriff's Department
and the EMT would soon arrive and takeover. Earl was eventually taken
to Danbury General Hospital. A doctor would shortly tell Bill
and I Earl
remember talking with Earl on the river. He told me about the new shelves
he had built at home. We talked about his new helmet and how we couldn't have
asked for a better day to paddle. Earl told me he was having a wonderful time.
He shared these same conversations with everyone on the river. I have known
Earl for 6+ years and he was definitely a friend. Both Bill and Earl
would paddle with me when most people thought I was nuts for wanting
to paddle. Seeing him being taken off the ambulance in to the emergency
room tore me apart. Later Bill would say Earl couldn't
have gone in a better way. He was happy and he didn't suffer.
I got to share a special time in Earl's Life. The following people
were there to share the same special time; Bill, Tim, Joni, Rod,
Lori, Don, Amy, Dave, Alison, Pete, Phillip, Kelly, Amanda,
Moses, Pam, Tom and Sarah. Earl I know you are in heaven
looking down upon us. I want to thank you for sharing your
final moments with us. I love you and will miss you.
paddling down a quiet river
Perhaps some portion of our soul lingers in golden light
Is it any wonder that some heed the soul's call
Alison Snow Jones
I paddled with him a lot today and he talked to me about his missionary work in Belize and about how much he adores his granddaughter Lia. He was making us all laugh at the break, as always. Just before we paddled into Moratock, Earl told me, "It's over too soon." And it is over too soon, not just the paddle, but his life. Pearisburg especially will never be the same again.
If you need more information about Earl and his family, please contact Ron Bright