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Lake Stevens says goodbye to two of their own

Published on Wed, Oct 17, 2007
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Lake Stevens says goodbye to two of their own

Boys lost have a lot in common BY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR We have all heard by now of the plane crash that killed nine sky divers and their pilot on Sunday, Oct. 7 while traveling over White Pass returning from Star, Idaho after a weekend of sky diving.

While it is not yet known the cause of the crash, many have speculated that icy conditions, too many passengers in the small plane, a malfunction in the engine or maybe even pilot error may have been to blame for the loss of lives that evening. We will not know for sure until all of the evidence is recovered and the investigation is finished.

What matters most to those in this community right now, is the feeling of loss this accident brings to all who knew the victims from Lake Stevens; Andy Smith and Cecil Elsner.

Andy was currently working with the Victoria Clipper with the goal of becoming a marine mechanic.

Cecil was attending Western Washington University in Bellingham studying English.

However, these two young men have many things in common.

Both boys grew up in Lake Stevens and graduated together as part of the Lake Stevens High School Class of 2005. Both were athletic, Andy loved soccer and was a member of the high school wrestling team, while Cecil loved skiing. They each shared a strong sense of adventure.

Both boys have twin brothers and a sister.

But the passion they shared for sky diving is what is most impressive in the lives of these two boys.

Andy loved the sport so much that he talked about it to anyone who would listen and even had wings tattooed on his legs.

Cecil’s talent for putting his thoughts onto paper best describes how he lived for the freedom that sky diving brings.

“The bustling world below continues to give and take, flourish and deprive, love and hate, live and kill, but you are the frayed thread set loose above that tapestry, with a wide angle view of its beauty and splendor,” he wrote on his myspace blog.

Elsner was also extensively involved in DECA and he attended a DECA retreat three weeks ago as an alumni representative.

“He was very intelligent and kind, he had that spirit of adventure,” Karen Morton, DECA advisor and Cecil’s former teacher said. “He left his mark on DECA and he will be missed.”

Both boys were well known and liked through their years in school. Former students, teachers and administrators are mourning their loss and revisiting old memories.

“Both Cecil Elsner and Andy Smith attended Lake Stevens schools from kindergarten through the 12th grade.  They touched the lives of many teachers and friends and were very involved in student activities.  They will be missed, our thoughts and prayers go out to their families,” Dave Burgess, Superintendent of Lake Stevens School District said.

While our community and the sky diving community continues to look for answers to such a sudden and tragic end to the lives of two young men with hopeful futures ahead of them, maybe we can take heed to the words of Cecil Elsner which he wrote shortly before his death.

“In all places on this planet humans die. Some die of hunger and some die of overeating, some die of cancer and some are killed by cars and some are murdered, most of these in war.

Many of my fellow humans don’t want to believe they will die. And they don’t have to…

…They must realize now that in life they give themselves and all the energy they can create and choose to expel to the unknown, formless existence around them.

How you act and interact in this world can either give life or death to what you are a part of.” – as written by Cecil Elsner on his myspace blog, Sept. 13, 2007.

May each of you rest in peace.

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