It’s hard to believe a year has passed since we lost LaRue County’s most beloved soul – Amber Thurman. As I think of that smile and that love for her family and Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, I too, still struggle as to why she had to leave this earth. She had a heart of gold and truly cared about everyone.
Just days before her accident, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Amber. As I look back, I am still in awe of the passion in her voice when talking about what meant the most to her. So, I thought it would be nice for you – the people of LaRue County – to know how she felt.
One evening, I asked her one question about her children, Sarah and Zach. I didn’t know that I wasn’t going to get in another word for the next 30 minutes. When she talked about them her eyes would light up with joy, pride and excitement. She was so proud of their accomplishments and their patience with “sharing” her with so many other kids. She had tears in her eyes, telling me how much she loved them. We, then, had a contest bragging on our kids.
When Amber spoke of her family you could tell how much she cared for them. She always smiled and laughed while talking about her parents, sisters and nieces. She spoke of her recent losses and how supportive her family is to each other. Amber would go from one funny story to another, as I listened and laughed. I could tell she treasured her family with all her heart.
She asked me to meet her at McDonald’s for lunch one day, but she did not tell me she was “running for office.” As I walked in, I spotted her up front – hugging everyone in line – young, old, whoever … she was like a rock star. I told her she would make a great politician. I realized quickly, that we should have eaten in the car because we didn’t get five words in for everyone else coming up to talk to her. She told me how much she loved the people of LaRue County and how wonderful the people are. She said she wished she could hug everyone because most people need a good hug and a smile. She adored the people of LaRue County.
She also talked about her school – ALES. I’ve been around schools, teachers and administrators all my life and I’ve never seen someone as passionate about children and education as her. She once talked from Hodgenville to Louisville only about ALES. She not only loved her students, but she loved her staff as well. She said her staff and teachers were like a “family” to her. When she started talking about the kids her level of excitement would jump three notches.
Since I had never been inside ALES she was very excited about showing it off. She showed me the classrooms, the gym, the “park,” the library, the floors, the walls … she was so proud of that entire school.
I thought to myself, “What a great place to work if I were a teacher and what a great place for a child to go to school.”
She beamed when telling me how lucky she was, having 500 kids to hug on every day.
I’m sure most of you feel the same as I do … when I think of Amber Thurman I think of her wonderful smile, her love and pride for her school and her unconditional love for all.
We should honor her by living much like her … smiling more and giving someone a hug.
She was truly God’s gift to LaRue County.