Oklahoma Highway Patrol Helps Family Get Back On Its Feet After Tragedy
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - We hear so often about fatal car crashes but don't often think about the troopers who work the wrecks or what happens to the families afterward.
Last May, 6-year-old Shawn lost the only parent he had ever known when his father was killed in a car crash near Collinsville.
Troopers searched for the boy's next of kin and found his grandparents in Kentucky. Those troopers stayed in touch and learned little Shawn suffered another tragedy just months later.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Lieutenant George Brown hasn't stopped thinking about Shawn Mathis since he helped locate Shawn's grandparents last May.
A few months after the crash that killed his father, Shawn's grandparents decided to leave Kentucky and move back to Oklahoma with him.
They packed everything they owned into a moving van. Shawn's grandfather was driving, being followed by a caravan of vehicles and family members.
"The moving van went off the road, hit a big tree and killed him instantly. We all saw it," explained Ann Mathis, Shawn's grandmother.
Ann's husband of more than 30 years was dead and all their belongings were ruined.
"We lost everything, all the furniture, washer, dryer, couches, coffee tables, dressers," she said,
So when Lieutenant Brown called to check on Shawn and the family, he was shocked to learn the news and asked what the family needed.
Lieutenant Brown contacted Green County Safe Communities and a few emails later, the family now has a couch, a box full of clothes and a dresser to put them in.
"Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I just can't tell everybody, thank you so much, how much it means to know people out there care," Mathis said.
Troopers say their idea of public safety goes far beyond the keeping the road safe, it also focuses on the lives of those people affected by deadly crashes.
Shawn knows despite the terrible tragedies life has given him; people do care and are willing to help.
So many people helped make this happen in addition to OHP, Claremore high school and police department, Green Country Safe Communities, Claremore High school teachers (donated clothes), Harry and Leslie Cowen from Claremore (donated sofa), Lonnie and Amy Hall, from Verdigris (donated dresser), Armstrong movers (donated truck and gas to deliver items).