Wednesday, August 23, 2000 is a day that I will never forget. My oldest son, Joe, was visiting us from Florida before his next semester of Bible School started. Joe brought two friends back home to Louisiana with him. Paul was from Oregon and Sergio was from Brazil. On that Wednesday, my wife, along with my youngest son was planning on visiting the Tabasco factory in New Iberia, LA. Joe had started taking Tony’s seasonings and Tabasco sauce with him on summer teams to share with his friends and teammates.
Joe had been going on mission trips since he was 10 years old. His first mission’s team was to Florida. He then went in successive years to Bermuda, Bahamas, Venezuela, the Philippines, Israel and Zimbabwe. Joe went as a leader with his sister to Norway and was a leader to Mongolia the summer of 2000.
Our goal that day in August of 2000 was to pick up some samples of Tabasco sauce to take back to Florida for his next semester. On Highway 90 South, just inside Iberia Parish, a driver of a flatbed truck fell asleep and crossed the median to hit us almost head-on. Joe was driving and he was killed instantly. Paul was sitting behind Joe and he was also killed instantly.
My wife was sitting in the front passenger seat and her leg was broken and ‘blew-out’ her knee and ankle. My youngest son in the middle back seat broke his femur and had other internal injuries. Sergio broke his upper arm and also had other internal injuries.
The first thing that I remember thinking after the accident was that my life will never be the same again. The Holidays were very sad that year. Joe’s birthday is December 20th and we had been planning on driving as a family to Seattle, WA to visit family. We did fly out to Seattle as a family that year and it was good to be with family. In the years to follow my wife and I have planned vacations during the Holidays so that we wouldn’t be home and have to deal with our grief and loneliness. It has only been in the last 5 years that we have celebrated Christmas at home with friends and family.
I don’t understand why I lost my 20-year-old son who was going to Bible School to be a missionary. What I do know is that in Joe’s death, more people will continue to receive a good Christian education. Joe’s legacy lives on in a Bible School built in his honor in Madagascar. We have definitely learned to lean on God as we went through the trauma of the car accident and the grief of the death of our son, Joe.
My Wife Nancy Short is a follower of Jesus and wife of 39 years and a Mom of 4 and grandmother of 2 and a sometimes quilter.