Please send your reflection to SaraBrakebill@hotmail.com.
"I know I'm a little late writing all of this but I honestly just found this website. I'm sooo happy that I did! What everyone has said about Sara is amazing and all so true. I think about her all the time. In high school Sara, Brittany Hawkins, and I were very close. I have so many awesome memories with her. Everytime I dance or even watch anyone dancing, it brings back memories of the three of us. Sara and I were in Ensemble, Show Choir, Talent Shows, Student Council, classes, and so much more together so there's definately alot of great memories! Sara was ALWAYS there for me no matter what I was going thru. We had plenty of our "girl talks" and I'm so thankful and blessed to have had her in my life. I love you Sara and you'll be in my heart forever! Thank you for being you and being a best friend, the best anyone could ever ask for!"
"In my english class my teacher assigns her students essays to write almost every week. There are about 5-6 prompts to choose from everytime, and this week I chose to write about Bombs... Not the kind of bombs that litterally explode, but the kind of bombs that we associate with as tragic events that have occured in our lives. I would like to share the essay I wrote... its only a rough draft, but its all poured out from my heart, and I hope you take the time to read through. THank you! -Jamie Huecker
Bombs strike the young, the old, the soft, and even the tough, but mostly when we least expect it. November 28th 2003, which happen to be the day after Thanksgiving, I was sitting on my kitchen floor staring off into some other realm where terrible things could never happen. While I sat there, my heart was broken, just shattered into a million little pieces and things just didn't make sense. My mom asks me, "Jamie, what's wrong?" I can't utter a single word. I look up at my mom trying to figure out why she couldn't protect me from getting emotionally hurt. Right before I received a call from a former friend. I was a call no one wanted to receive. "Jamie, Sara Brakebill was killed in a car accident last night."
One young person that was admired by so many ranges of people was Miss Sara Blair Brakebill. Sara was eighteen years old, two years older than me at the time. She was a former fellow dancer in high school, my neighbor, friend, mentor, role model, and the best young Christian follower I had ever met. She was a living example of how one should follow Christ. Sara was the ultimate "daddy's little girl" and "momma's little angel". To Sara, family was the greatest thing a person could ever have. Sara's three main goals in life were to; be saved, stay saved, and to save others. She did so much in so little time with these goals. She did save, stayed saved, and she saved very many lives.
I was so confused. You see, people my age didn't die, especially people I knew. My mom stood there helpless wondering what to do. Frantically she called every resource she knew to find out if it was true, and it was. The next day was Sara's viewing and what I hoped was a myth was brought to reality. I saw Sara lying there so peaceful and beautiful in her coffin without a scratch on her. I stared at her with no expression. As I stood there I hoped with great desire that she would wake up with a huge warm smile like she always had, but Sara didn't wake up. Chills ran up and down my body, and I burst into tear, I held my friends for comfort, longing to never let go. Her eighteen years just seemed too little time for someone so special, beautiful, and kind. She was a very powerful young lady who affected many lives in such a positive way. Two days later was her funeral which I believe everyone in east Tennessee attended. Just like everything else it had come and gone because with time everything comes and goes, and people learn to move on with their lives.
I have so many memories about Sara that make me happy I ever knew her, so sometimes I sit and reminisce about times with Sara. When I started dancing with the high school I was the only new member to join the team. That was tough, but Sara stood by my side and showed me even though it was scary, it was only turbulence, and sometimes turbulence could be fun. She always looked after me on the team, like a big sister would. I had to start fundraising for this new team I was on. I had no clue where to begin and I was very shy so I never asked for anyone's help. Sara saw this and volunteered to help me throughout the entire fundraising time. She drove me from door to door in every neighborhood for endless hours, to make sure that I received the goal amount of the fundraiser that was given to me by my coach, and I did. I know Sara wasn't obligated to do this, but she did out of the goodness of her heart. I think about when we had to learn a certain routine entitled "Michael Jackson", it was one of the toughest routines I ever had to learn. Sara and I had to learn it at the same time, and since she had been dancing for twelve years she caught on very quickly. I remember being very jealous that she could get it, and I was struggling with every bit of it. I was glad though that she did learn it very quickly because there again she would help me for many hours teaching me this routine so it would be perfect. Then I would be allowed to perform with the other members at the upcoming game.
It's been almost three years since Sara's death. At first I would always wonder why God would take someone as wonderful as Sara away, but as time passed (a long time), I realized that he was doing her a great favor. It impacted so many lives in the way that she would've wanted, and he placed her somewhere she always dreamed of being. Sara's death stills affects me very deeply, but I always get through it knowing she's happy where she's at. I think of Sara more than ever when I'm struggling with life, and I need an inside motivation. Even though Sara is not physically here, she is; in mind, soul, and in my heart, she will remain there for as long as I live. I know she is in heaven; because there is no better place for an angel like her to be. Over time the bombs of life fade away little by little, but sometimes the tiny pieces from the huge explosion remain locked deep inside a person and leave little burns. My little burn is what I'd like to call Sara. R.I.P Sara, I'll be missing you."
"Sara and I were in school together, we shared many ofthe same classes. My favorite class with her was freshman English, wehad a lot of fun in that class. We weren't close, but I will alwaysconsider her a good friend.I am a jokester, I especially like to tease people to make themlaugh. Sara was always one of my prime targets because she took mytwisted humor so well. No matter what odd thing I would say to her,she'd cheese that blinding smile and say something cute in responseand we'd both end up laughing.During Christmas break of our junior year, my dad passed away. Iwill never forget the kindness that Sara [and her mom] showed me in mytime of emotional need. Sara was such a wonderful person.I am usually able to use adjectives impressively, but it’s hard toexpress all the things that were Sara. I think of her every day. Iregret that her time on earth was so fleeting. I am fortunate to havehad my life impressed upon by her. Sara has touched many lives and still many more to come."
"Mrs. Brakebill came and spoke at my church last night. She talked about Sara and the past few years. It was a blessing hearing what she had to say because it really eased my mind about a few things. I've known Sara for so many years, but there were still a few things that I didn't know about her. She was truly an Angel! I got a few of Sara's favorite Bible verses, and heard what she really thought about life. After talking with Mrs. Brakebill I had to get on Sara's site again. Yes, I cried, but I had learned so much. I have had the book "Purpose Driven Life" for years now and still have not read it. I'm going to start reading it now. '"
"A day doesn't go by that I don't remember one of the best friends I could have ever met. Some days it's smiles and others I can't hold the tears back. I cannot wait til the day I too will join Sara in heaven. The pain that I delt with losing this special friend helped me help some of my newer friend in WV that lost a great friend of theirs, Ryan Jobes. The stories I hear of him remind me so much of the loving Sara. It's amazing how the good die young. May the arms of heaven hold them close and their stories help us to live a better life. I love the Brakebill family and feel blessed to have met them. "
"As I read through this website, I was taken back to the most difficult time in my life, the fall on 2003. I watched so many loved ones pass on, and I wondered, am I the only one suffering from a broken heart. I now know that at the same time, even though we had not met, our families were mourning together. During those trials, I prayed so hard that if there was anyone going through similar circumstances that God would care for them, and that He would see them through. On December 31, 2006, although I did not know it at the time, I saw my prayers answered. Hearing you preach the gospel message was the refreshment I needed, speaking to you about the congregations we work with reminded me that I am not the only one, and spending time singing praises to God with your family warmed my soul. Thank you for becoming the man that you are, and thank you for sharing the memory of Sara Brakebill, my sister-in-Christ; I know the the Brakebill's, the Thomason's, your family, and my own must be proud of you for everything you have done to remember Sara, and to continue to live out her goal, 'to share this faith with others so that as many people as possible may also be able to find the same peace and comfort that has been instilled in me.'"
"I am a family friend of the Malloy's. My mom and dad, Charles & June Klinstiver, worked with Martha and Joe for many years. I saw the awesome piece that Beth did on one of the local news stations as my mom had taped it. I am amazed at how Sara's life and death continues to inspire others on their journey of life and to understand that no matter what we face, we have an eternity of joy to come. I have been unable to get Beth, Merritt and Wiley out of my daily thoughts and prayers since seeing the piece over the Thanksgiving holidays. I want them to know that someone is thinking of them and praying for them during this holiday season.
Something strange happened and I felt compelled to send a note about it. One of Sara's cards with your website address on it, flew out of one of my patent's charts last week. I don't know how it got there because I don't remember Mom giving it to me and this was a chart of a patient I saw after the Thanksgiving holiday. I believe Sara was saying 'Hi'. I had some problems with the Internet at that time and am just getting around to sending this note. I hope the timing is right to let everyone know I will be keeping those touched by Sara in my thoughts and prayers."
"My name is Sandi Brennan - your neighbor! We live across the street from the Brakebills (you know - the crazy lady with all the chickens!) and I had the privilege of knowing Sara and watching her change and grow into the beautiful young woman we will never forget.
I have a story about Sara that I would like to share:
My husband and I have three boys. Patrick, the eldest, was on the Ft. Loudoun Middle School boys soccer team. His 8th grade year, we didn't have enough to make a full team. We petitioned the league and got permission to include our 5th grade boys to our team. This also included our middle son, Ryan. There is a world of difference in maturity in kids who are still in the elementary school building, and those who move over to the middle school. As team parent, I was in charge of helping get the boys ready for games, pass out info, etc. The day of our first home game, everyone was excited, and we had been given the girls basketball dressing room to change in. It had a door that opened to the outside, and no one had to go through the school for anything. I was standing guard while the boys changed into uniforms, and all of a sudden Sara came around the side of the building, smiling that trademark smile. Junior Miss had been the weekend before, and I had left Sara a token gift at her doorstep afterwards. She came up and gave me a big hug and thanked me. I asked what she was doing at the middle school, and she said that she was supposed to meet the girls basketball team and talk with them that day. She couldn't get into the school through the front door, and was going to see if they were in the dressing room. I explained who actually was in there, and she asked if she could pass through to see if they were in the gym. I called into the dressing room to ask if they were all dressed, and they said they were. Remember I stated there is a difference in the maturity of the elementary kids and the middle school kids, so I told them there was a 'Lady' out here who needed to pass through to the gym and if anyone was not dressed to have a lady in their presence, they would be sitting on the bench the entire game. A moment passed and the word came that they were all perfectly presentable. I opened the door and Sara and I stepped inside. I wish I had a camera to take a picture of the boys' faces that day. With the exception of our two sons, who considered Sara as a friend and like a sister to them, every other boy in that dressing room had their mouths open and their tongues hanging out. Somehow, Sara and I kept from laughing, and I introduced her to the group - 'this is Sara Brakebill, our new Loudon County Junior Miss'. As one, they stood and applauded. Sara blushed, gave them her mega-watt smile, wished them luck in their game today, and went to the gym. Every eye followed her out the door. After she left, one of the 5th grade players asked me, 'Mrs. Sandi, if we win today, could you get Sara to come back and wish us good luck before every game?' I promised to try, if they won. To tell the truth, their hearts weren't in the game at all, their hearts went right through that door with Sara! We lost miserably, but that memory of Sara always brings a smile and a lift to my heart.
Elijah, thank you for such a beautiful and fitting tribute to Sara with this website. It is amazing, and just helps us to keep her memory with us. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her, and I, too, have a star picked out that I look at and see Sara. I also picture her, each time there is a quarter moon, sitting in the curve, swinging on the moon and smiling. God truly blessed us with an angel on earth, and I look forward to the day that I get to see her again."
"I've known many people who are no longer in this world - many of them very good and respectable and godly people. Yet it is rare that I think of them with any depth, and somewhat unusual that I think of them at all. Sara is one of only two people that I am caused to remember every time I am reminded of anything they ever had to do with. Today, I noticed that a particular man is preaching in Cookeville Tennessee. And my mind began drifting... Ah yes, Cookeville. That's where Sara went to school. It's where, for one thing, she argued forcibly and well about the Lord's will for the permanence of the marriage relationship, astounded that 'believers' would accept that things have just changed over the centuries. And it's where she made another of her graceful marks on this world, but finished it sooner than any of us ever thought would be. I think of her, every time I see anything that she ever touched."
"Just recently I found this website on the profile of a fellow LHS graduate and thought I should see if it did Sara justice. Only then did I realize that she was an even more amazing person than I thought she was. Although I never had the chance to get to know her, it wasn't hard to admire what a strong person she was. I don't remember a day that went by at LHS when someone wasn't talking about how kind and helpful she was. It seems that everyone, even those of us who didn't know her, knew that someday she would be something great, and of course she is. She is an inspiration to many people who long to be as close to God as she is. I can honestly say after reading through this website I want to make changes in my life. I somehow find myself inspired to try new things and live life to the fullest, because as we have learned from Sara, tomorrow is not promised and we should live for today. I want to thank you Elijah for allowing me to see what a beautiful person Sara truly is. I also want you to know not only Sara but also you have given me the strength to allow myself to live better. Thank You and May God Bless You, although I believe he already has!"
"Let me say that your website is absolutely beautiful. I can't think of a more appropriate way to celebrate an amazing young woman, and let her story touch lives all over the world. She is truly spreading God's message just like she would want to. Its easy to see how much you and Sara truly loved each other."
"I just went to this website for the first time. I'm gonna make this short and sweet, but that is an awesome testimonial. I don't cry easily, and you got my eyes wet buddy. Just wanted to let you know I think you did a good job with this."
"We never got to know Sara the way we wish we could have, but every time we were near her, she was always a joy to be around. Our families have always been good friends, but we recently have become a whole lot closer through our daughter Jordan. Since Jordan and Wiley have grown close, we now consider the Brakebill family part of our own. You touch our lives everyday, we can't wait to meet you Sara!"
~The Campbell Family
"I remember Sara as always the one to crack the joke. Sara and I played basketball together in middle school and had class together in high school. She was always doing things to make someone laugh even when she didn't feel good. I remember once in Algebra Sara didn't feel good and we were playing a game where you had to take a pool stick and make a ball into this small cup. She tried so hard and finally got it right. Even on the basketball court Sara was always the one to keep the team in the right spirit. Even if we were winning she would always say, 'It's not over yet; lets keep working.' Sara was a great person and will be sadly missed always."
"I remember Sara was everyone's best friend at my church. She had gone to a basketball camp with my cousin Lindsey. Only a few days ago, Mrs. Brakebill came and shared her testimony with the ladies of my church. Her testimony was so powerful. It made me want to see Sara just one last time. Her mom mentioned she had four notebooks of notes from her bible studies."
"I filled in for Mrs. Brakebill today at Loudon High School. I saw a card on her desk with the web site address on it. When I came home today I got online to look at it. You did a wonderful job with the web site. I was in Sara's graduating class at Loudon High, she was such a wonderful person and is greatly missed by so many people. Sara was a beautiful person inside and out. She inspired so many people in the short time she was here. Sara and I were never close friends, but I knew if I ever needed someone, that I could go to her and she would be there for me. On the night of the car accident, my parents, Steve and Lynne Johnson were a couple of the first people on the scene and they said when they found out it was Sara, their hearts just broke. When they called me and told me she had been in a car accident and passed away I couldn't believe it at first. I thought Sara was too perfect to be dead. I know there is not anyone that is perfect, but Sara was. She lived her live for God and she was so beautiful, so yes Sara was perfect. I just wish that I and the rest of the world could be more like Sara. If I ever have a daughter Blair will be somewhere in her name in loving memory of Sara Blair Brakebill. I love you Sara and you will be in my heart forever."
"Y’know, it’s funny how things work. I’m sitting here in my hotel room in Tyler, TX and I was feeling kinda down for some reason. So I break out my laptop, open up some Hallal music stored on my computer. The second song that plays is “Thank you for giving to the Lord.” I cannot hear this song now without thinking of Sara and the website. So that song made me visit the website for the umpteenth time. And let me just say that as always, I feel so much better after spending time here. My favorite links are the Purpose one and the Bible Studies one. I love Sara’s notes on The Purpose Driven Life, because just through reading her notes, I can see her sincerity and a deep desire to do the things that she had written down to do. The “don’t worry about what I look like” one especially gets me. She was so beautiful, and yet carried herself very humbly! It is statements like these that encourage me so, because here you see a young Christian striving to do the right things in life, trying to reach the ultimate goal in life…and she obtained the goal!!! How encouraging is that! I also like the Bible Study notes because you would tell me about you guys studying the Bible while you were doing it. When you were telling me about them when ya’ll were dating, they were great because they were stories of two people studying the Bible, but they didn’t mean to me then what they do now. Now, after almost two years having gone by, these are stories of inspiration because I see the efforts that were shown in the past towards studying and I can see the benefits being reaped now. Sara’s life and death, so many people being taught the Truth and encouraged, and your personal growth and example through the whole situation are certainly the harvest that is being reaped through God’s seed being sown during that time. Your hard work that is manifested in the website is definitely worth it all, my friend! I can count myself among the thousands whose soul has been lifted up by experiencing parts of Sara’s life through the website. Seeing her picture on the front page reminds me that our “great cloud of witnesses surrounding us” is ever so real and personal and it only encourages me to do better in my walk with Christ and my relationship with my fellow man. Thank you for your efforts."
"I havent looked at it in over a year so I spent an hour or two reading through all the work you have done. I laughed and cried till I couldn't take it anymore. It was wonderful to relive so many wonderful memories and be reminded of such an amazing person. Thank you for putting so much time and energy into that web site. You have obviously touched many many lives by telling Sara's story. I am often reminded of Sara as I walk to class. There is a girl that looks just like her that happens to pass by me at just the right time and it always makes me smile. When I think of Sara , thats what I remember the most - her smile. I dont remember a single time of seeing her that she didn't have that beautiful smile on her face. Sara was such a beautiful person inside and out and she had a way of making everything around her shine."
~Sarah Meyer Watkins
"My name is Crystal. I attend the University of Alabama and when I got to my car today I found a card on my window that had this website on it. It was really strange at first because out of all the cars in that parking deck my car and one other person’s car were the only two vehicles that had the card on it. Her life story was so amazing. You never know when it is your time to go and that is why we should always be ready. I believe that the card was put on my car for a reason. I was having a really bad day today and when I got home I got on this website and just reading the stories and looking at the pictures of Sara’s life really changed my attitude. Her Christian walk has inspired me and given me reason to keep on living and doing my very best for the Lord and doing what I can to help others. I have also learned through her story not to just think about myself and what can be done for me, but helped me see that I have everything I need and that I need to help others like she did. Thank you so much for sharing this website with me. May God bless all of you."
"You don't know me but my name is Krista, by just an odd chance I came across your girlfriend's website. Sara is a beautiful girl, and is being well taken care of now. The part that caught my attention the most in the website is Sara's bible studies. It is soo fascinating and interesting her deep love of eternal truths and that desire to learn more... not just READ to read, but to learn about our Heavenly Father's eternal purposes. It's very touching, in fact I became teary-eyed. I found it especially interesting how she repeatedly mentioned the covenant of Baptism in her studies. She was coming to realize how very important this act is."
"I assume this email is forwarded to Elijah, but I had the opportunity to sit and chat with Beth today at Loudon County High School as I was there for work doing the insurance enrollment for the employees there. I only spoke briefly with Beth, but she passed along the card with the website on it. Back in my hotel, I quickly went to the website and had the chance to read the letters and see the pictures and accomplishments of who was obviously an amazing young woman who touched many peoples lives. Three years ago, a close friend of mine was killed in a car accident at the young age of 21. Her family setup a website memorial to her, similar to yours, and it brought back many memories of her. I just wanted to tell Beth that I was blessed to meet her today and will be from the website for Sara. It's amazing to see such a young person make such a big impact on those around her. What a blessing she must have been to you, and her legacy will continue to be."
"My name is Erica McCaleb,and I was a participant in the TN Junior Miss with Sara. I found out about the accident from a fellow contestant, and I was shocked and incredibly upset. I really didn't know her well, but I absolutely loved her. She was one of the few that I thought about when I thought of Junior Miss -- she certainly impacted my life. (Not to mention, she killed all of us with her pushups. haha) I wanted to let you know how special she was, even to a stranger like myself. I'm so sorry for your loss and for her family's; you can express this to them if you feel fit."
"Even though I was never that close to Sara I still remember all the great 4-H memories with her. I didn't understand why such an amazing person was taken away from our lives. Elijah this website is a wonderful way of showing what a great person she was. I still think about her and try to show my love for God just the way she did. She is an inspiration to me and always will be."
"I knew Sara throughout high school. In fact for freshman orientation my 8th grade year she was my guide. She was one of the best persons anyone could know. Sara was always there to help and advise. She had a way of making even the worst day seem alright. It seemed no matter how hard I tried to adhere to the upbringing of informality and coldness with which I was raised Sara,"no matter what", could always get a smile or laugh out of me. I think part of the reason I took hold of my life and forced it to drift into the right direction had alot to do with Sara. The way her attitude and positive energy affected the people around her, made the world seem that much brighter, and still does."
"I don't think life will ever be the same for me after losing such a close friend like Sara. Sara and I started hanging out as soon as she became a freshman in high school. Sara and I shared so much. I felt like her sister. We had the best beach trip with her family the summer after my Junior Year. The best part was giving Beth a hard time. Sara and I used to hang out at Randall's and beat everyone at Ping-Pong (at least we tried). I talked to Sara on Thanksgiving Day and we were supposed to meet up after all festivities were over. That never got to happen. I still have a hard time and can't believe she is no longer with us. I miss her and there is not one day goes by that she isn't thought about. Thank you Elijah for giving us this webpage so we may always honor her memory and accomplishments."
"I just found the Sara Brakebill website from a friend a while ago. I've been gazing thru pictures and reading everything on the site for about three hours now. I thought "wow, she was such an amazing person. I long to be just like her." I had never really gotten close with her of the three years of high school together. I had one small conversation with her...and that was it. We had both volunteered to answer phones to help out muscular distrophy kids. We were both friends of Amber Goins who's brother has the disease. When we did talk for the small amount of time, I thought "wow, she's really nice." I still now wish that I had gotten to know the sweet Sara that everyone else knew. She was so caring, loving, and strong willed. I had always noticed because almost every single event that we had at school or anything else she was involved in. She was also filled with so much integrity and passion for others it was so unbelievable. I just finished reading the story of what really happened. My keyboard is literally covered in tears I cried so hard. Just what happened the sermon on the radio, and the nurses name. God works in mysterious ways that is so wonderful! I'm glad to know that you have a piece of mind, and as well as I do. Sara was a great person and a beautiful child of God. Thank you so much for the website...I'm so positive that it will move people in many ways and help them in their walk with Christ. Everything happens for a reason. Sara is using you thru this website to help others to Christ as well."
"I never got the chance to become close to Sara, however I knew her mom very well. Mrs.Brakebill was my choir teacher all the way through highschool. Mrs. Brakebill is a wonderful person. You can tell she really did a good job raising Sara and Wiley. I am so glad you created this website in her memory. It has truly touched me and motivated me to become closer to God. I hope you know how proud everyone is of you Elijah for having the strength to carry on Sara's memories and dreams. Seeing the pictures of Sara makes me smile inside and feel a sense of inner peace. Good luck with everything you do and tell Mrs. Brakebill I said Hi!!!"
"I met Sara when she was just a little girl, maybe 8 or 9. You see I live in Philadelphia. Sara along with her grandparents, her mom and her brother Wiley came to Philly. Sara's cousin Tricia had married my husbands brother John Piller. Sara and her brother Wiley were in the wedding. Sara was such a good little girl. She participated in the wedding like a real pro. I have read all the things that Sara has accomplished, and WOW, she has done more in her short time here on this earth than some do in a lifetime. She is an inspiration for all, and you my friend loved her deeply, I can see that. I know she is looking down on all of you. Best of luck to you and Sara's family. My God be with you all."
"I always knew Sara ever since I was a little girl. She tought me many things about the Lord, Basketball,and how to love myself for who I was. I will never ever forget the love Sara put in my heart. Sara sometime I will see you again! We miss ya here in L-Town!"
"Your story about Sara was very touching. I can tell that you cared a lot about her and that you were in love with her."
"Hi, my name is Mimi Atkins and I just thought that I would let you know that your efforts have traveled a long way. I saw a window decal on the back of a car today in Starkville, MS and I just had to see what it was all about. I think what you have done is a great thing! I just wish that I had done something for my friend when she passed. Thanks for the Bible studies ... they are going to be very helpful!"
"My son, a visiting preacher from Hamilton, Ontario, met the young man that set up this web site a few days ago at a Bible study he was conducting. He was very touched by the love and inspiration of this your lady and the young man that set up the site, and their love for Jesus. Steven Rudd, my son, lost his son in an accident June l, 2002 and felt this was a wonderful effort. Hope you achieve all of your goals in honor and memory of Sara."
"This is a beautiful web site. I can really see why you would call this your greatest accomplishment!"
"Your website is amazing. I fell like I know Sara. I saw your comments on the website for Amanda Williams on childrenremembered .com. I attend a support group called Compasionate Friends with Amanda's Mom and Dad. You see on July 19, 2003 my son went to sleep and did not wake up. His death has been the most horrible thing I could have ever had to expereince. The pain is with me always. He was 22 years old. To young to leave this world. No parent should ever have to bury thier child. I can tell your loss is heart breaking also."
"I just want to say how amazing of a person Sara truly was and her spirit still is. I never knew her personally, but I was an old friend of Wiley's. I've always heard of many of Sara's accomplishments and everything she was involved in. She is a true inspiration. She was and is the type of person who trully makes you feel good inside. Just by reading this website I have become closer to God. After reading it I went to talk to my youth minister about getting into a one on one bible study to gain more knowledge and be able to truly Witness to others and lead them to Christ. Sara's a true Angel! The website brings a blessing! I dont know how u make it everyday with losing someone so great to you, but I admire everything your doing on this website..its absolutely Amazing. My name's Kayla Helton. Wiley was an old crush of mine..he takes after Sara with his looks."
"Hi, my name is Brittany and I went to summer camp with Sara for a long time. Sara was so awesome. At camp, all the kids are split up into teams and have different competitions and one was questions on the bible. Every question, her face lit up, because she always knew the answer. She did sign language for us and was even in my cabin once, but she went to senior high camp for a few summers before me and when I saw her the next time she didn't remember me. Last summer everyone at our camp cried. We cried for at least an hour... the thing that hurt the most was when her father cried out to the Lord. That hurt me the most. Sara was the most together and amazing person that anyone could ever know... I'm glad to have met her so many summers ago."
"I have a great deal of love and respect for the Brakebill family and the Malloys for the way they have handled an unfathomable loss. I have a great deal of respect and gratitude for the way our friends and family have responded to you and our family. To say that I love you and Sara would truly be an understatement. I continue to ride an emotional roller coaster. Sara's life was one that was devoted to the Lord and has touched us all and led us to examine ourselves and our comittment to the Lord. On the other hand, it is very difficult not to think about what could have been for the two of you and for her and her family members. It breaks my heart to think about your loss and their loss. I love Beth and Merritt and Wiley and I hope they know how special they are to our family. I could write all day about how impressive Sara was. Her enthusiasm for the Lord and her impact on the lives of others are truly unparalleled. I have been one of the harshest critics of anyone you have dated in the past. I remember someone in Tuscaloosa asking, "Dont you think they are spending too much time together?" The question was presumed to be followed by, "Yeah I need to talk to him about that" (a line I have used before). However, my response was "I dont think so, I think she is the one." The response caught me off guard. I have never seen such a spark in your eye and it was because of Sara and her love for you and her love to study God's word. She had the same spark. I remember a wrestling match between the two of you in my living room with Hoot and myself in the audience. It went on for what was an uncomfortably long time for the spectators and I thought you were both getting mad. However, it ended with her on your lap gazing into your eyes as though you hung the moon. I wish you two could have that moment forever. My favorite memory is of a story Beth told in a card she sent me. She said that she and Sara were talking one day and said, "Mom, I think Josh really likes me being with Elijah." I certainly did. She is a special young lady. Heaven is lucky to have her."
"After having over a year to reflect on Sara and her impact on my life, I have finally gathered my thoughts together and put them into words. First, Sara's positive attitude, her infectous smile, her genuine love for everyone she met, and her fervent desire to know God's will and serve Him are some of her wonderful characteristics I will never forget. However, Sara's biggest effect on my life is through Elijah. EJ is my best friend and has been a positive, uplifing force in my life for many years. Once EJ and Sara started dating, EJ's positive encouragement in my life continued to increase exponentially. Sara changed EJ forever and thus changed my life. I am so thankful for Sara's direct AND indirect influence on my life and on so many other people's lives. To God be the glory forever and ever!"
"My name is Elizabeth and I live in Murfreesboro, TN. A friend and I were out Christmas shopping and I saw a car with Sara's picture and this webstie on it. I was interested in seeing what the website was about. Your website is amazing. I was so sad reading it but the love you had for her and the impact her life made on so many people was so uplifting. Its fasinating how God works."
"Sara is a special kind of person. The type of person who would say Hi to you even though you weren't popular. I was not a popular person in school but to Sara I was a bright person. I met Sara my sophmore year of high school. She told me one day that no one can tell me who I am but God. Her mom Beth was also an inspiration to me. She always made me smile just as her daughter did. I will always remember Sara. She makes me want to keep on going even when things are rough. She will always be remembered by everyone in the community of Loudon County. I never knew her boyfriend Elijah but I do envy him. He had the most beautiful girl and most special person ever known. I am sorry Elijah that you had to suffer as you have. I am also sorry for Mrs.Brakebill and her family. I know how close Sara and Beth were and still are. I know that Sara is still watching over us and helping us in other ways. I will always remember Sara and the love she brought into this world."
"Sara Brakebill has touched me in so many different ways, but not only has she touched me, she has touched many other people. She was a friend that everyone wishes they could have, and I thank God that I was able to have her as a friend and become as close to Sara as I did. Her Purpose Driven Life was to be an incredible Christian and to touch everyone around her with her life and the way she lived it. She achieved her goals and touched more people than anyone could have ever expected. I thank God for sending her and her family into my life. I also thank him for allowing me to be able to develop a close relationship with her and having her as an example on how to live my life. I Love You Sara. September 17, 1985-Novemeber 27, 2003"
"Sara was a role model for me. Everyday since the day I met her I was almost jealous of her abilities. I wanted to make people smile like Sara did and I wanted to make people's lives better like Sara did. Who doesn't? She would walk up and down those halls and smile at the people no one else would look at. She always stopped to say hello even if she was running late to Mr. Foster's class. The entire Brakebill family is so supportive of each other. I remember when Sara wanted to drop Mr. Foster's AP American History 1 because she was always so busy. Beth simply reminded Sara of her goals and everything was back to normal. Everytime I turn on my computer or get in my car I think about her. I only hope that we can all help each other to keep her memory alive. She was the most devout Christian I knew. I will always love her and miss her for the rest of my life."
"I just spent some time on the website and it is absolutely wonderful. I smiled, cried - it just really touched my heart. I only met Sara a couple of times but I remember thinking that she was such a sweet girl. I remember she was at the 1st Alabama game last year in Birmingham. I hadn't seen her since May, when I had been in Loudon for the meeting. You two were sitting a few rows in front of me & someone who was sitting between our rows got my attention & pointed me down to Sara because she was calling my name. I looked down and she said hey & asked me how I was doing. I remember thinking that I was surprised that she remembered me and also I was struck with the thought that it took a really sweet person to make a point of speaking to someone who they had only met a couple of times. I have never forgotten that moment because just that little gesture showed me the kind of person Sara is."
"I just thought I would write you and let you know what a wonderful job you have done with this web page. I'm sorry it has taking me so long to find out what a wonderful girl Sara was. She was younger than me in school so I didn't know her very well. The weirdest thing happened to me to other morning I was getting ready for work and for some reason I thought about her and I didn't even know that this website was here. I thought I would check and see if anybody had done anything for her and here it was. Thank you for letting me get to know her better and I wish you all the luck in the world! God Bless!"
"First of all, this is an incredible website. As you know, Elijah, I had a hard time reading it because it brought tears to my eyes. I did not know Sara, but reading the thing on this website and talking to you, I feel as though I know her and it saddens me that I did not get to meet her, but I can tell that she is living through you. There is no question in my mind how much you love her and she was so blessed that you came into her life. She is able to accomplish her goal to make a difference in people's lives because of you and your love for her. She has made a huge impact on my life and has influenced me to look at life with a different perspective. Thank you for talking to me about Sara's incredible life and I am praying for you and her family."
"Reading you website and stories brought tears to my eyes, but what encouraged me the most was your openess and attitude about it. I know that it would be a lot easier to hate God and be filled with resentment and anger, but you chose to let God work HIS own plan. I know that God will truly bless you!! Your website said there were over 2,000 people who have visited... imagine how many lives God is touching through you. You have an incredible ministry and I will continually pray for you and your ministry. With your permission, I would like to help you spread this website around. I know that God (and Sara) are looking down on you and saying 'Well done my good and faithful servant'!!!!"
"I like many others loved Sara with all my heart and soul. At first hearing I had a real hard time trying to understand why God would take someone as wonderful as her, she was pretty much my big sister! Then after time passed (a long time) I realized that in Sara's death so many lives were and are still being touched. Mine included Sara taught me not to take life for granted, she never did. Elijah I know that I have only met you a couple of times but if I could have picked anyone for my Sara it would have been you. When she first told me of you she was glowing the whole time. I know that it has almost been a year, but sometimes I just feel the need to talk to someone about her. I visited her for the first time scince the burial a few days ago. Wow it felt so great just to go and talk to her. I know shes not physically here but her wonderful presence is. I miss her soooooooo much and I still cry alot but I know she is in a much better place."
"I read through the website and it is truly moving. I'm sure Sara would be honored to know that you have celebrated her life in this way and that so many others that did and didn't know Sara are being changed through her story. To God be the glory!"
"Last night I spoke with a mutual friend of ours, Rachel Roberts, and she was telling me about your website for Sara, and she was telling me about what a godly woman she was, and I want to tell you how touched and impressed I am with what I have seen of Sara' s life, and your incredible peace with the whole situation. Rachel was telling me of your plans to celebrate Sara's birthday, and I just want you to know that my thoughts will be with you. I hadn't planned on e-mailing you, just visiting the site, but now that I am touched to the point of tears, and I see how much you love her, I thought you might enjoy just one more person telling you about what a beautiful person she was, and how reading about her life for Christ renews my spirit to reach others whom I love that are not true Christians."
"I come back from time to time to check on your Web site. You are doing a great job. There is no way to know how much good you are doing for others through this medium. Keep up the good work."
"As I viewed your web site, tears made trails down my cheek. Sara was AWESOME! I love the poem, the pictures, and the notes on the Purpose Driven Life. I believe that God's plan does not include a perfect life without pain and suffering, but a life of serving. His plan for your life will be revealed to you. You are a wonderful young man. God has blessed you with so many gifts and talents! Go and use them for his glory. An old teacher from the past, that loved Sara with her complete heart."
"I came across your website a few nights ago via Randall's personal homepage on AOL. First, just let me say it is amazing, and I can tell it is a true labor of love. Randall told me you love getting e-mails about Sara and the site, and I have so much I could tell you, so I hope you can bear with what will most likely be an e-mail of illogical, random flow. I was on the dance team at Loudon with Sara. My junior year (her freshman year) she was my little sister on the squad. Not long after she became my little sister, the girl who had been my big sister the previous year passed away. I remember the entire time I was Sara's big sister, I felt so bad, because I wanted to be a good sister to her, but I was so heartbroken over losing Hana. I often felt like me missing my big sister kept me from giving my all to Sara as her big sister, but Sara never made me feel that way. I remember how much fun we had as roommates at dance camp that summer. Beyond that I remember immensely enjoying Sara's presence during dance, Ensemble, and high school life. I think more than anything I remember Sara's smile and her laugh. I am laughing right now remembering the times she helped plot the tricks we used to pull on Mrs. Brakebill during Ensemble, helping hide the piano bench, or covering for Luke and Randall when our sheet music was nowhere to be found. She was filled with a special, joyous spirit. From the time your page opened onto my computer until I clicked on the very last link, I was so overwhelmed. I laughed, I smiled, and I cried a lot. I think what you have done and are doing with this page is a wonderful thing. Thank you so much for sharing Sara's faith paper. When I began college, my faith journey went in a new direction, much like Sara described in her paper. It was such a comfort to me to know that not only I am not the only alone who has had such an experience, but someone I know and cared very much about faced the same struggles, too."
"I don't really even know what to say. Mom told me about this website tonight, and I'm truly amazed. You've captured Sara so well and it brought back so many memories."
~Callie Van Koughnett
"What an awesome memorial you have put together to honor Sara. It makes me feel good to know that we live in such a town as Loudon where when something like this happenes everyone comes together to do whatever they can to help. I remember playing house on Sara's front porch with her and Wiley when they were younger like maybe Sara was in third grade. I also remember one day her Uncle Marshall coming over one day and Sara having a fake bloody finger from like chucky cheese. She put it on, and ran to Marshall and said 'Look, uncle Marshall I cut my finger!' He said, 'Oh, No we better take you to the Hospital to get it sewed up', and he picked her up in like airplane mode, and headed to his car. You should have seen the look on her face; it was half horror, and half laughing, because she knew she had tricked him. But boy did she yank that fake finger off in a hurry, and yelled, 'Look uncle Marshall, it was just a trick see', and she stuck the finger in his face. It was so cute. I grew up across the street from the Brakebill household and got to know Merritt, Beth, and Sara quiet well. Wiley was little when they moved, but now I have gotten to know him too. It is very easy to see that her family is very kind and loving. They have also been dear to my heart, and my family's. But as you can see and will contiune to see even in death Sara will keep touching people's lives, and it is my hope and prayer that many of them will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior."
"I had visited the website a few times before, but I didn't focus on reading anything because I knew I would cry. And here it is 12:30 in the morning, I have school work to do before I go to sleep, and all I can do right now is cry as I think about everything I have seen. The stories about Sara's life, your life, the pictures, the time you have taken to be sure that the world hears about such a wonderful example. It's all so touching. Thinking back to the night of the accident makes me wonder. You are so sure about Sara's purpose in life. Sara was so sure of her purpose and goals of life. It makes me wonder where God wants my life to head. I just wanted to let you know that I have wandered all through your website. I love the pictures, especially the sheep show ones, they bring back so many great memories. I am awed by your efforts and hope that your experience will always be an encouragement to you. You know, Scott Smelser is preaching our meeting this week. On Sunday night he preached a lesson on "Everyday Heroes." The entire lesson was based upon the six, or so, verses that talk about Aquilla and Priscilla. Every time they are mentioned, they are doing good. Twice, Paul talks about the church meeting in their house and each time it is in a different city. He commends them for saving his life, and as he is writing some of his final words, the first people he wants to greet are Aquilla and Priscilla. And so it is with Sara. Every time you, or anyone else, mention her, it's always good. May we all strive to be everyday heroes! Thank you for sharing Sara's life."
"I was always very close to Sara, I considered her as my sister. I grew up with Sara in church, and as I got older I got closer and closer to her, It got to the point to where she was one of my best friends. She was always so nice to me, and spent a lot of her time helping me with my homework. I loved Sara so much, and I think about her every night before I go to bed I have so many memories with her we did alot of things together we went to see movies, went to church camp, and went to Mexico on our mission trip. I also had thanksgiving dinner with her, that was the last time I would ever see Sara, she came and gave me a hug and she told me she loved me I have had a very hard time over Sara's death, but it has made my relationship with Christ so much stronger. Sara I love you so much and I cant wait to see you again."
"I loved Sara because she was my sister in Christ, but I find myself in the unfortunate situation of knowing more about Sara now that she is gone then when she was physically alive and here among us. I wish that this wasn't the case, but seeing how others loved and cherished her is an encouragement to me. I am reminded of how God allows us to love and comfort one another until our end comes and how your works truly do make an impact on others, even if you don't know it, and that those works can far surpass your time on Earth. I don't know why God chooses to take some when he does, but what I do know is that we need to use the time he has given us to glorify Him. It seems to me like Sara didn't waste a single second that God blessed her with, and I see that in the way she continues to move those that knew her and even now those who didn't know her. Thinking of Sara and those she made an impression on remind me of one of my favorite passages from John 11:25 that encourages me often..."Jesus said unto her, 'I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.'" Not only does Sara continue to live with her Heavenly Father, she continues to live here among us on Earth also."
"This website is truly amazing!! You have done a wonderful job showing the world who Sara really was. I know that we haven't talked in quite a while, but Sara's death was really painful for me. She and I were never really close, but she always seemed to brighten my day somehow. I am not really sure if it was her kind words or her beautiful smile. I can not tell you how many shoe boxes full of pictures are sitting downstairs in my mom's room that are full of 4-H pictures and Sara's bright, beautiful, loving smile. I know how much you really loved her. It has always been obvious. I remember the really early days of honor club, sitting around and flipping rubber bands at each other and farm day....we all said that you two would end up together one day. I have always secretly tried to live my life like Sara, but I could never figure out how she did. How did she stay happy and smiling all of the time? How did she make time for all that she did? How was she so kind to so many different people? She truly amazes me even now. I had no idea that she had grown to be such a devout Christian, and I am so very proud of her. I am proud of you all and your relationship. I love the fact that you guys kept the Lord as the center piece of your relationship and refused to let the worldly things get into it and corrupt it. That is so awesome."
"I've known Sara since we were kids. There was always something special about her. She always had a smile on her face. I remember exactly where i was when I learned what had happened to Sara. I had just returned to Chattanooga for school...well work...I had to work the day after Thanksgiving sale at the mall...I had brought Christmas presents back to school with me that I couldn't wrap at home because I didn't want my mom to see what I got her. I had just finished wrapping the presents when my boyfriend called me. He was just going to talk, and then he mentioned that he found out who was in the wreck the night before. I had to ask what wreck because I hadn't even heard about it...then he told me the names of the people in the car. I knew them both but when he said Sara's name and what happened to her...my breath caught in my throat, and although I hadn't seen her in several months, her smile flashed in my head. I called my mom and asked her to check and see if it was the same Sara I knew or if there was another one. A few minutes later my mom called me back and all I could hear was crying. I knew I had to come home. So I turned around and made the longest drive from Chattanooga to Lenoir City that I have ever made in my life. All the way home I remembered things about growing up with Sara. I remembered Bible School at Loudon CP, church camp with LCP, and birthday parties at her grandparents house. All I have from all the time we had together is one picture, but I will forver have all the memories and the lessons that Sara taught me, through her words, her life, and her faith."
"There are no words whatsoever that I can say to express exactly how much Sara meant to me. Mine and Sara's family have been close for a while, I can honestly say that I consider the Brakebill's as a part of my very own family. I love each and every one of them unconditionally. I am so very glad that I took part in the Operation Hands Together mission trip. I saw exactly why Sara loved going so much. You could see God's work in progress from the families we built the houses for, to the beautiful children at mission bible school. This has been a life changing experience for me, and there is absolutely nothing in this entire world I would trade to take its place. I only wish that Sara could have been there in flesh to see it, but I know that she was watching from heaven smiling down with that angelic smile of hers. Sara I love and miss you so much, and I just can't wait for the day when I will get to see you again someday."
"I had a good friend die in a car wreck in January (she was 17) and the impression Sara left people with reminds me a lot of Ellen. God uses trials like these for the best. He has used the lives of these two wonderful girls for a reason and as much as it hurts that they're gone.. I know the influence they left here on earth is powerful. The strength God has given you to deal with this is very evident and powerful to people like me who don't even really know you."
"I don't know what my first memory of Sara is.... The Brakebills used to live in my subdivision, and I can remember many times seeing her and Wiley playing in the yard. Then there were the 4-H sheepshows where Sara reigned for years as the little princess of the PeeWee division. As time went by, she became good friends with my brother and would be over at the house a lot, playing ping pong and basically trying to keep the guys in line. In the summer of 2003, when Sara had started dating Elijah, several of us went to Kings Island and we waited and waited to ride Tomb Raider, because Sara said it was "The best ride in the park!" then, "It's pretty good," and then finally, "Well, I like it, but it might not be worth this wait." On the night before the car accident, November 26, 2003, Randall, Sara, Elijah, and I rode up to Ruby Tuesday after church to meet some people for dinner. We talked, sang to the radio ("Stacey's Mom has Got it Going On" with some editorial changes), and laughed the whole way up. After dinner, Beth and Merritt met us at the high school to open the gym for us, and we played basketball until the wee hours of the morning. I'm glad we had that last night together. It's a memory I love."
"Sara and I had never been very close, but I remember growing up living in the same neighborhood with her. I always remember looking up to Sara, and wanting to be just like her. The biggest memory that sticks out is the night of Sara's birthday. Tassie Foster and Afton Watkins were at my house, it was a Friday evening, getting ready for the football game. Tassie was on the dance team and had forgotten her red ribbon that was essential to her dress code. The closest place we could think to go was to the Brakebill's house. When we got to their house, Sara was standing in front of the mirror putting on make-up. She had the most excited look on her face while we stood and looked at her, amazed how beautiful she was. I will always remember the smile Sara had on her face that day, and the excitement in her voice."
"I never got the oppertunity to get to know Sara, but after reading and hearing all the good things I have, I wish I had. Everything I've read on this site about her has blessed me so much."
"Sara was an awesome person with a brilliant spirit that we will all miss, but everything happens for a reason even though we may never know the reason. I am sure that you understand this almost more than anyone. I just want to thank you for everything you have done for Sara, her family, friends, well pretty much everyone."
"I remember her coming down there one night that I was going to spend the night and I remember her asking me to go to the high school basketball camp that year and I said I wasn't that good and I didn't know anyone so she promised me that she would practice with me and help me to get better and she also promised that she would stay with me that whole time. Well that's one of the many things I loved about Sara is that she keeps her promises and she did that time and that was the best time I have ever had with her but there has been plenty more times too. She was so beautiful and smart and nice and I LOVE that about her. I really have and will miss her so much! I Miss You So Much Sara!"
"I am truly impressed by the web site you have created in memory of Miss Brakebill. I work with someone who had the opportunity to meet you through the Junior Miss competition over the weekend. He gave me your business card and encouraged me to visit the web site. That was three hours ago. I have been trying to look at pictures and read every story in between jobs. As a Christian, I am thankful that Miss Brakebill was a young woman of faith and is now with her heavenly father. (If only there were more young people like her!) If her story (as well as this web site) has touched just one life; then it is well worth it. I hope this thought brings comfort to you too."
"Very impressive web site that you have created in honor of Sara! I'll be praying that it will have an impact on many people's lives and perhaps help some to find the LORD!!"
"I enjoyed looking at Sara's web site even as it brought fresh tears to my eyes. Sara was and is a beautiful spirit."
"I went to your web site, and, though I never knew Sara, I feel a very small portion of the pain that her friends and family suffered. I can tell from the photographs and her paper that she was a very special girl with a strong will and desire to learn the truth and to make use of what she learned. I am sure that she would be happy to know that her faith and determination have made an impact, as I know it has on me. I envy the love that she received during her lifetime and the stronger love she received after her death. However, I also envy, and admire, the love she was obviously so willing to give. I thank you, Sara, for your example, and for the mark you left on this earth and on the hearts of so many."
"There are no appropriate adjectives to describe Sara. None of them are adequate. She fixated heaven as her goal and number one focus and refused to veer off course until she laid hold of it. Her passing has been the most excruciating experience of my life, but I would not have traded the pleasure of knowing such a strong Christian. Part of the joy of being Sara's friend for many years has been getting to know her family. It is easy to see how Sara became who she was when you see the love of her family. They are truly extraordinary people. Sara was as true a friend as anyone could ever hope for, and her passing should only make us long even more for the reunion to come in heaven. Though this site honors Sara, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Elijah. He has been a brother to me my entire life and has been exemplary in every fashion bearing such an incredibly heavy burden."
"I just looked at the web site you set up for Sara. It is a beautiful piece of work dedicated to a young lady we loved and admired. I am Sara's Uncle Luke Hogan from Phialdelphia, Pa. My wife, Aunt Rene, is Mr. Malloy's sister. We did not make it down for the funeral, but were constantly thinking of everyone and praying for all of you. I know that Sara is up in Heaven and watching over all of us, but I also know that she would want each and every one of us to hold that spot in our heart, as we are doing, but not give up on our dreams and continue to try and be the best, because we have someone watching over us and guiding us through life's journey. I am glad that Sara had someone like you to share her life with. She talked about you when she was in Philadelphia during the summer of 2003. Her love of life and just having good fun we will miss."
~Uncle Luke Hogan
"I had the pleasure to see Sara grow up through church camp. I always knew this young lady was special, and she became more and more so over the years. I not only got to see her grow up physically, but spiritually as well. I never had the opportunity to tell her how much she impacted my life, but I think she somehow knows. I cherish the times we had together at camp more now than ever, and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to know her and can't wait to meet her again in a bigger and better place."
"When Mrs. Brakebill showed me this wonderful website about Sara, I was so shocked to see so many of the beautiful pictures and accomplishments Sai made while she was still with us. I remember Sara in basketball, always telling the girls to kick some booty. The most funniest moment was when "Hoot" had a halloween mask and came behind Sara, I guess you know what she did....Not only did she scream, but she moved so fast trying to get away she was climbing over everybody jumping up and down. Thats how I remember Sara, fun and free, and if you got a chance to actually meet and talk with her, I would have to tell you to be thankful for that because you talked to an angel that was sent to us all from God. One word that discribes Sara and that is she was our Blessing!"
"My husband, Jeff, has an 11-year old daughter - Jesse. She knew Sara from dance and Junior Miss. On that Friday, they had gone shopping and had picked up a little white Christmas tree for her room. They were in the car on the way home when I told them about Sara. When I got home from work that evening, Jesse had decorated her tree. At the top of the tree was a piece of paper with the words "In Loving Memory of Sara Brakebill". She cut the picture out of the paper and taped it to the piece of paper. Sara was the angel at the top of her tree."
"For this reason, as we are circled by so great a cloud of witnesses, putting off every weight, and the sin into which we come so readily, let us keep on running in the way which is marked out for us, Having our eyes fixed on Jesus, the guide and end of our faith..." (Hebrews 12:1-2)
"While I did not know Sara as well as many others knew her, it has become very obvious that the smile she wore the times I saw her, was the same smile she wore everyday of her life. Listening to stories about Sara and having met her a few times, I've learned she was the kind of Christian who made the verses in Hebrews 12 seem like an easy task. She ran her race full of determination, never letting her eyes leave Jesus. I find it comforting to know that she is now part of that cloud of witnesses and because of her example others will come to learn of Sara's purpose driven life that is found in Christ."
"Sara and I weren't close friends, but she changed my life and never knew it. I was just a student that would walk down the halls and just look up and notice her smile, I always thought she was a very beautiful young lady. Now that Sara is no longer with us here on earth I really wish I could have gotten to know her better. Sara was a senior on the dance team when I had my first one-on-one conversation with her. It was during the 2003-2004 Flames Dance Team tryouts and she was one of the members in which had to teach us the dance. I got so frustrated because I was a slow learner and I could not learn the dance, and Sara reassured me that anything I put my mind to I could accomplish, and I'm assuming she knew exactly what she was saying because when I looked at the tryout list to see the names which made it mine was second on the list. I was so excited the next day at school I walked up to her and thanked her, but she looked at me with her smile and said, 'It wasn't me who danced in front of the judges it was you so congratulations!' After that encounter Sara and I carried on a few little conversations, but she will never understand she was my hope and inspiration."
"My mom was Sara's hairdresser. She was the one who kept your baby girl pretty all the time."
"Nobody ever knew what she was to me, nobody had a clue. Although Sara and I were never very close, she was an idol to me every day of her life. I know she was an angel sent by God to do a job for him. Her work here must have been done, so he called her back home where she belongs. She had such an influence on my life, and is still helping me to stay on the right track and make decisions I never could've made without the influence from her. Sara, I thank you so much for the help and determination you have given me. I miss you a lot, but I know you are still looking down on me...smiling!"
"I wasnt a best friend of Sara's but I knew her through many people. She graduated with my cousin and she also helped me my sophomore year with dance. I had never danced in my life and she helped me with every little bit I needed. She was one of the seniors helping teach the dance tryouts. She taught me just about everything I know now. Sara was the happiest person I knew and if I ever needed a smile the only thing I had to do was look at her, because she always had on the most beautiful smile that made you grin. In my eyes Sara is one of the most beautiful girls I know. Not only her looks are beautiful but her personality is as well!!! Even though I didnt know Sara very well I knew her enough to know that she was a great person and I miss her dearly. Sara loved to sing and I truly believe that God wanted his angel home on high to sing in his heavenly choir!! I love you Sara Blair Brakebill and I miss you so much."
"I have gone to Sunday school with Sara since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and we played softball together for the church and attended Chilhowee and other camps together. I cant say I really ever talked to her much. But heaven knows I adore her sooooo much. She is my motivation and has been for as long as Ive known her. When Merritt would ask a question in Sunday school, she was the only one who would answer, even though alot of the times she was wrong on the first guess, she'd keep guessing until she had it right. Now, I've noticed its alot quieter around."
"Thank you so much for this web page. It has become my nightly routine to check and see what else you have done. It makes me feel a step closer to "Bill". That's what I always call Sara. I don't know if you know why we used to call her "Bill", but I'll go ahead and type you the story. You see, down here in the South, we talk a little different than other people. This way is not always the correct way. Sometimes words can be...O let's say changed to other words that may or may not even be a real word. For example: Brakebill is a common used name that is not hard to pronouce, but when a country talking person says this it could be changed to Brakebull. This word sounds retarded and is not to be used around Sara's dad. When I first met Sara's dad, this is what i learned. So, from then on, I made sure to pronouce it right. We (the basketball girls) started calling Sara "Bill" as a liitle nick-name."
"Sara is the best part of me. She will always have a hold of a part of my heart. I know that she will always be a part of you, too."
~Amy "Hoot" Fritts
"I am so glad that you made this wonderful page about Sara. She was a beautiful girl with a smile that just wouldn't stop. Her pictures are amazing. I didn't know Sara, but I can tell that the love you and her shared was one that many people search their whole lives to find. She would be so proud of you to know that you are using her Christian example to bring others to Christ. I know she is looking down from Heaven on you Elijah."
"I opened up your webpage yesterday for the first time to see what you'd done so far and my first thought was "Wow! This is a super nice page!", but to say that alone leaves so much unsaid. It's so much more than a webpage. From her paper: 'I know that now I have found the truth.' How often do I fall short of her words! Also, as you know even more than I do, her actions: 'Now, it is my hope and my mission to be able to share this faith with others so that as many people as possible may also be able to find the same peace and comfort that has been instilled in me.' And of course her webpage which you've created now is just one of the ways that even after she's gone on to greater rewards that she continues to share her incredible faith. Really all I can say is 'Thank you' both to you and to Sara, and strive to do better myself. There's no way to convey the inspiration you both are."
"I wasnt as close as I should have been to Sara , but I still considered her one of my close friends, and I admired her so much for her close relationship with Christ and how she maintained her faith no matter what obstacles she may have come in contact with. She was, and still is, my role model and will always be. I know that in my daily walk with Christ I have encountered so many things that I can't handle on my own and I need Him to be my guide. I thank her for being the great example to me that she was and I assure you, she will never be forgotten in my heart or in those lives she has touched by her life and even through her death."
"Sara Brakebill was one of the best people that I knew. She was a living example of how one should live for Christ. As I look at this website, it is hard for me to be sad. I was deeply saddened by her death, but this shows how wonderful Sara was and that makes me smile. Even though she wasn't one of my closest friends, I miss her a lot. I miss seeing her beautiful smile and her cheerful attitude. No one could be sad when Sara was around. She put a smile on everyone's face. I enjoy coming back to this page every now and then to see some things that you have added. Thanks for this...it helps to remember the good times."
"My name is Kyle Campbell and I preach at the church where Randall Thomason attends in Murfreesboro. I can tell from the time you have put into the website that Sara was very dear to your heart. I am certain that you miss her very much but one day you will get to see her again. I understand the influence she had over so many people was tremendous. I was only able to meet her one brief time shortly before the accident, and I wish I could have known her better. Keep up the good work and the faith which you have in our Lord Jesus and He will strengthen and comfort you all the days of your life."
"Thanks for sharing your wonderful website with me. I was really impressed. It made me feel like getting acquainted with Sara although I've never met her."