Law enforcement visit is a parent’s worst nightmare
By John Groves
A call late at night or in the early morning
hours most of the time is not good news. Anytime a law enforcement officer
visits your home unexpectedly, it's normally not good news either.
On March 11, 2011, at 10:30 p.m. at night, we
got one of those visits.When I invited
the officers in, I asked them, “this isn’t good, is it?”They were there to inform us our son, Matt
Groves, had just been killed by a drunk driver.
There is no way to prepare yourself for news
like this. This is a parent’s worst nightmare. Matt was only 21 years old, he
just had his birthday three weeks before he was killed. Matt was a kind, fun loving young
man who was always willing to help anyone that needed it. The night he
was killed, the officers told us that Matt and his friend, Teddy Martin, were
helping someone in need. A young woman, Alicia Allen, was on her way home from
work.Her car had run out of gas, and they
were trying to help her get it off the road and to a safe place.
While they were pushing the car, a drunk driver
hit them from behind. The impact killed Matt and severely injured Teddy. If
Teddy had been just one step further to the left, he very well could have
joined Matt as a fatality.
Matt was always willing to help anyone who
needed it.Matt was a
true Christian - he attended The First Christian Church in Leavenworth and he
was the sound board operator for the late service at our church. Matt was also
a deacon in our church.He was one of
the youngest deacons ever elected.He
not only helped with the services and music at his home church, he helped at
another church down the street, New Hope Assembly of God, where he had made
friends. They had a group of young people that formed a very close
relationship.Matt played bass guitar
there and helped with the youth services on Wednesday night.This church was also devastated about Matt’s
death. The youth minister and one other member of that church visited us the
day after the crash and volunteered to be pallbearers at his funeral.
We always knew that Matt had friends, however
the day of his visitation and funeral we found out that Matt had hundreds of
friends.It was standing room only in the church the day of his funeral.Matt loved life and enjoyed it fully in the time he was on this Earth. He was becoming quite a man, loved by everyone. Matt had no enemies. We WILL go forward, but with heavy hearts because a piece of our family has
been taken from us.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't
think about my son Matt.I think,
"where would he be today if he was still here?”Would he be a 911 Dispatcher? He had taken
the test but only missed passing by a few points. The people told him not to
give up, to come back and take the test again in three months, because he
scored higher than half the applicants.Would he be a father, would he be a minister, a member of the military,
who knows, he always wanted to lend a helping hand to people.
I’ll close with this - the
person who is going to jail for a DUI eventually gets to come home. The
victim’s family is the one who serves the LIFE sentence.
John Groves and his wife,
Teresa, advocate for strict DUI enforcement and are from Leavenworth.