Spirit of Helpfulness

Click to see original imageThe heart of the community if that term can be used goes out to a Nevada and Wisconsin family which experienced extreme tragedy early Saturday when three young brothers were killed in a motor home rollover and fire on Interstate 15 north of Provo. The Emeran Petrack family was traveling from Pahrump, Nev. to Winneconne, Wis. when the accident occurred, killing Timothy, 15; Jeffery Jerome, 13; and Bryan Joel, ll. Mr. and Mrs. Petrack were hospitalized at Utah Valley Hospital (he has since been releasedl. Sons David John, 17, and Greg, 5, escaped with superficial hurts. After living in Wisconsin, the Petracks have spent the past year in Nevada where the father has been employed. They were traveling to Winneconne to visit another son Randy and lay plans to move back to Wisconsin. Randy has joined the family in Provo since the accident. Mrs. Shirley M. Petrack, 40, the mother, who suffered head and neck injuries, hopes to he released from the hospital Wednesday evening so she can join the rest of the family in flying to Wisconsin Thursday for funeral services for the three sons. Heartbroken by the tragedy, Mr. and Mrs. Petrack were warmed Saturday and Sunday by the outpouring of help, sympathy and generosity from people of the Provo area. From Mrs. Petrack’s hospital room, they told of the courtesy of concerned doctors and hospital staff members; of clothing, flowers and money offered by sympathetic citizens; of scores of telephone calls not only from Utah Valley but elsewhere in the state and nation. ”lt’s a wonderful feeling to know that people care,” said Mrs. Petrack. Her husband echoed the sentiments. As this writer visited the hospital Sunday, several concerned people stopped by to offer friendship and consolation. One woman brought a beautiful bouquet and said: “I have five boys. My heart goes out to you.” She embraced the bereaved mother. The Petracks mentioned many people for special kindnesses, among them Marion and Grace Green, Thad and Diane Jensen, Mrs. Glenda Wolfenstein, the Catholic fathers, Mormon bishops who came, and others. Obviously the family’s sorrow was being significantly eased, at least for the present, by the friendly response. “Some day we’re going to come back to Provo for a really good visit,” said Mr. Petrack, expressing again his gratitude. it is said a stranger is merely a friend you haven’t met. lt’s unfortunate that it was tragedy that brought strangers together in this case – but the new friendships have helped a family to see a silver lining and warmed others who found opportunity to perform acts of kindness when they were needed.