Westport 1-8-11

One of the consequences of making it past the half-century mark, it seems, is an increasing awareness of the great good luck that it takes to do so. That awareness grows slowly for the most part, but at times it can also suddenly fill up your vision with a jolt. The brutality of the world's randomness is brought home at such moments in a way that can stay with us forever.

Our community suffered such a tragic moment early in the morning of New Year's Eve, when three young men, all close friends, were involved in a single-car accident on Camp Dudley Road. The car went off the road on a corner and hit a tree, causing severe damage to the driver's side. The driver most likely died on impact. The two passengers-cousins who had known the driver since childhood-suffered serious injuries. They were exposed to the cold and wet for about 45 minutes before one of them managed to make his way to a nearby house and summon help.

The emergency squad was paged out at about 3:15 a.m., and both boys were transported to Elizabethtown Community Hospital. After initial treatment there they were taken to Fletcher Allen, one by helicopter, the other by ambulance. Thankfully, both boys are expected to make full recoveries.

The three boys, whose families are part of our Camp Dudley community, were here to bring in the New Year with other campers and friends of Dudley. We grieve at their loss and extend our sincere condolences to them, and especially to the family of the boy who died. I didn't know him, but the mother of one of the boys who survived described him to me as "the best of the best." The two survivors, she said, will always remember him as their dear friend.

As for the two boys who survived, we wish you all the best in making a full recovery from your injuries. This tragedy brought a wide range of people together-young people, older friends and family members, helpful neighbors, emergency responders. We're all family now, and we hope you'll keep in touch.

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