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Remembering a friend

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wanting to ensure she wouldn't be forgotten, (from left) Evan Hayes, Landon Reinoehl, Corey Simonson, Sonni Burris, Dave McClelland, David Hayes, Lexi Morris, Jessie West, Brett Siples and Heather Woods worked non-stop for three days to create a memorial cross for Brandee Siples. Ivy Jackson Photo.
Among laughter and tears, family members and friends of Brandee N. Siples gathered at the crash site along the Clay/Putnam County line to remember her with a special memorial Friday afternoon.

"We don't want anyone to forget Brandee," Brandee's brother, Brett Siples, said to the gathered crowd at the informal dedication ceremony. "Brandee was such an amazing person, she deserves to be never forgotten. She lived life to its fullest every single day."

Around 10:40 a.m. Nov. 17, Siples, 17, a passenger in a vehicle driven by her boyfriend Cody Wright, 18, was killed in an automobile accident approximately two miles south of United States 40 on the Putnam County side of County Road 500 East (CR 900 West in Putnam County). Speed was a factor in the accident, causing Wright to lose control as his Camaro topped a small hill, became airborne and struck several trees before the vehicle landed on its wheels in a 20-foot ravine.

A group of friends and family members created a cross out of one of the trees Wright's car hit during the accident.

Evan Hayes, Landon Reinoehl, Corey Simonson, Sonni Burris, Dave McClelland, David Hayes, Lexi Morris, Jessie West and Heather Woods gathered with Brett to reminisce about Brandee Tuesday afternoon. It was during that conversation the idea to turn tragedy into triumph occurred, and the group moved into action.

Bruce Burris joined the group at the accident site to help cut the tree into several seven-foot lengths so they could form them into the memorial cross that bears Brandee's name, the dates of her birth and death and the Chevy logo.

"She would have loved it," Sonni Burris said while watching the cross be placed into the ground near the crash site. "It's just awesome."

Brandee's parents, Terry and Pam Siples, were impressed by the group's hard work and dedication to place the memorial before her funeral services today..

"Once they made their minds up, it was amazing to see how hard they worked to do this," Pam said.

Cody's parents, Doug and Kelly Wright, stood next to the Siples during the dedication ceremony of Brandee's cross. Due to his injuries, Kelly said her son, who is heart broken at the loss of the girl he planned to marry next spring, was unable to attend.

"It's been tough for all of us to get through this past week," Pam said as Kelly nodded in agreement. "We just need to get through one more day (Brandee's funeral), and then we turn our attention to Cody and helping him, and his family, get through this. She (Brandee) is at peace now and I know she is happy about this. She's whole now. Cody's been a part of our family since that first day. Now it's time to take care of him."

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I commend these young people for paying tribute to their lost loved one. I do not see this as disrespectful to Justin Snow's family. I doubt Snow's family is giving much thought to how Siples' friends are working through their grief as they are most likely consumed with the painstaking task of dealing with their own tragic loss. My heart goes out to both families.

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Sat, Nov 24, 2007, at 10:14 AM

It is you, Terry Hassler who should be ashamed of yourself for posting this as a "comment". These are friends and family who are trying to deal with the loss of a loved one as best they can. It is Not for You to Demean. You should have kept your opinion to yourself.

-- Posted by fitch30437 on Sat, Nov 24, 2007, at 1:14 PM

I opened this page to tell all of you what the "children" who built Brandee's cross have been thru but after reading Terry's comment I have a little more to add. So sorry if I ramble on a bit! Most of these children have grown up with Brandee and all of them were very close to her! One of them is her Brother, several of them have lived their entire lives on the same street. These are the kids Brandee spents her days playing with as a child! I think it is safe to say our neighborhood is more of a family! These children lost someone very special and instead of crying and being "lost" they decided to do something for her. They have sat in a garage all hours of the night working on this special gift for a friend! They did not do it to get attention they did it because it has helped them handle their loss! While doing all this hard work they never left Pam and Terry's side! At all times one of those children was next door making sure that Brandee's parents were OK, were they eating had they slept, do they just need to talk? This group of children has been a wonderful support net for eachother as well as for Brandee's Parnets! I for one am very proud of how they have handled all of this!

-- Posted by Amy Reynolds on Sat, Nov 24, 2007, at 5:38 PM


For someone who has so many negative comments about these caring persons and bragging about how things haven't changed here in 35 years, I think you must look at yourself first. If you're so happy to be out of Brazil and living in Knoxville, why the heck do you continue to read the Brazil Times!!!!. Get a life, READ A TENNESSEE NEWSPAPER like everyone else in Knoxville.

-- Posted by growupnow on Sun, Nov 25, 2007, at 5:19 AM

When I first read Mr. Hassler's comment I was not going to bother with a response. Clearly, he is an educated individual who is entitled to his opinion. Why the rest of you did not hold his well articulated message with correct spelling and punctuation in high regard is beyond me. NOT! Mr. Hassler you are an embarrassment to yourself, your family and your community. You should be ashamed of yourself for making such a comment.

I am not sure why you left the Brazil area but I am glad you are gone. Brazil is not a perfect community; however, when it is needed the citizens come together. Whether it is to celebrate the homecoming of our soldiers or to grieve the loss of members of our community, we DO unite. These individuals chose to grieve in a constructive manner. Justin's family and friends appear to be grieving privately and as a community we respect that. If they choose to memorialize him in any way I am confident our community will support them as well.

Mr. Hassler, in the future, please do all of us a favor and keep your comments to yourself.

-- Posted by opinion on Mon, Nov 26, 2007, at 12:02 PM

okay sooo.... this Terry guy is a joke!

these people worked long and hard on the cross for brandee... they were friends and family of hers! the people that love her so much decided to do this for her. MAYBE just maybe the people who made the cross for Brandee didn't even know who Justin Snow was so why make a cross for someone you don't know. no offense but maybe his friends and family are doing the same thing. but i don't get why the people who made it for Brandee have to make one for Justin when they don't even know who he is. does that mean they have to make one for every single person in the whole entire world that has passed away from a car crash? yeah i don't think so! Brandee's brother, parents, friends and everyone else involved did a GREAT thing for her. why can't you just give people credit for their hardwork instead of giving them a hard time?

-- Posted by Amanda21 on Tue, Nov 27, 2007, at 12:53 AM

Mr. Hassler, if you have children, I PRAY the ugly mindset you have perfected (in 35 years) stops with you. Let me be one of the FIRST to congratulate you on your geographical location change. We appreciate it.

-- Posted by Emmes on Tue, Nov 27, 2007, at 11:00 AM

To Mr. I dont know where I live!

First of all.. You dont even live in Indiana, so why are you concerned with what goes on here.

Second of all.. You definately need to learn how to spell and stuff on the computer.

Everyone deals with grief a different way than anyone else.

Some of the closest friends of Brandee have expressed their deepest concerns for her and her family by doing this.

Justin's family has chosen to deal with their grief their own way.

Some of his friends might choose, now, to do something like this.

Terry, you should be ashamed of what you wrote down there.

That hurt a lot of people's feelings.

Think about that.

Ashamed for showing compassion and concern?


-- Posted by QuietOne2009 on Tue, Nov 27, 2007, at 7:30 PM

WOW ! .. OBVIOUSLY, TERRY.. You ARE as dumb as you seem !...

First of all .. go back to school and MAYBE you will learn a few tricks in English class so that when you are dumb enough to make a comment like you just did, people will understand it !

How have things not changed?! Our town just lost TWO of its citizens. Soo many people are hurt, mourning, "shocked" and all you can say is "I'm ashamed" ?? I don't care how old you are, you still have SO much to learn! These kids have more of a heart than you will ever have!

Everyone is going through a rough time right now. EVERYONE is feeling for the Snow family. Not one family has been forgotten! And because you live in TENNESSEE, you would not know that!

Whenever I die Mr.Terry , *YOU* better make me a cross!! .. Because I KNOW you wouldn't want my family to be insulted.. would you ?

-- Posted by Shocked on Tue, Nov 27, 2007, at 11:28 PM

Terry, you should be ashamed. That is my family that made the cross. We all grew up with Brandee and we all loved her very much. This is how we chose to deal with the pain of the loss we have recieved. I have been informed that there is a cross for Snow. You live in Knoxville, you needn't be concerned as to what we do for our losses here.

-- Posted by Morgan_x on Thu, Dec 6, 2007, at 10:33 AM

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