LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Wednesday will mark two weeks since a 13-year-old boy was killed after he was hit by a fallen tree limb. Most of us have moved on from the damage the storm caused on July 10, but for the Foree family the damage was life changing.
On that night Tim Foree was a busy father cooking dinner for his three boys. "They wanted to watch television but no - being the good parent go outside and play. Little irony in that isn't there," he said.
The storm was moving in quickly near their Windy Hills neighborhood and he worked quickly to prepare, "so I pushed the garage door opener to close the garage and about half way down the power goes out. So the garage door is half open half closed," he said.
Next, Zackery's brother came running up to him, "My 11-year-old runs in and he's scared cause he doesn't know where his brother is. His brother was just behind him on the scooter."
"I thought well he's fine you know. He's fine," then a heart stopping realization, "and then I see the tree down in front of the house."
With his 11-year-old son, he quickly glanced at downed tree limbs as they search for Zackery who had been no more than 10 or 20 feet behind his younger brother. Pouring rain followed the wind.
Panic had set in now for everyone, including neighbors who tried calling 911, but could never reach them.
And then just feet away from the Foree home, "I'm looking under the branches and there is his crumpled little….his head was under water because the water was pooling so badly….and I can't get the tree off of him," he emotionally recalled.
The garage door was already partially open because of the earlier power failure. Tim Foree found a jack inside the garage and the help of neighbors the tree was lifted.
"The neighbor, good people really good people starts saying the lord's prayer which felt like at the time and I wasn't gonna have none of that," he said, "so we waited and we waited and we waited and no ambulance shows up," but, "ambulance never shows up."
As I sat with this father who has lost a son I did not hear blame or intentions of lawsuits, instead humanity and a plea.
"I will certainly have much more compassion for people when ambulances pass me," he said. "What could you have done? Who could you blame? There's just nothing. People were wonderful. St. Matthews police. Everybody."
But what could we do for him, or for a family that has lost so much?
"I've been asked that 1,000 times ‘what can I do?' and I keep coming up with the same answer - treat each other better. Treat each other better."
"Zackery was bullied a bit at school because he didn't get it. He thought he could eventually just charm those people," he explained, "We want to shut ourselves off from taking the time of touching each other's lives but that's what we're here for."
Many of us read the stories about the death of Zackery, but most of us do not know about his life, laughter and love for his family and just about everyone he met.
"He was the funniest person. He was really funny. I was just talking to his band teacher and he make the whole room laugh even when he didn't want them laughing but it was sweet it wasn't mean laughter," explained Foree.
Wit can be a sword - if used to inflict pain, you will not only see the point, you will feel it and Zackery was always well aware folks also feel what you say.
"Zackery was so sweet and he was so unaffected and incapable of being malicious, incapable of being malicious. He thought he could make everyone laugh and he could. That's all I can come away from this with if I turn it into anything else then something else wins that we don't want to win," Foree said.
If we could all learn from Zackery, what he thought was important in this world, maybe this world would be a better place.
Zackery would have been an 8th grader at Kammerer Middle School this upcoming school year.
A memorial gift in Zackery's memory can be made at Republic Bank.
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