Over the summer, the Clarksburg High School community lost three beloved teenagers to a fatal car crash.
This will be the first holiday season without Patrick for the Shifflett family, who is hoping others will hear their message. Both parents are encouraging teen safety on the roads as students prepare to visit with family and friends, but they hope their son's memory will live on through good deeds.
“He was always the biggest,” said Lily Shifflett with a small laugh as she showed WUSA9 a family photo. She tells us all four of their sons were best friends.
"They played two-on-two basketball and two-on-two wiffle ball; they were really close,” said Lily as her husband, Walter Shifflett, wiped a tear.
Five months have passed since the family lost Patrick Shifflett,18, to the fatal crash in Damascus that killed the Clarksburg High School football captain and his two friends. Jacob Dennis, 17, was behind the wheel and Cary Green, 17, was a passenger. Montgomery County Police tell us the cause was driver error and speed. According to a police report, the 1989 Ford pick-up truck was found to be moving in excess of 64 mph, and the vehicle slowed to about 54 mph before going off the road.
"Whatever happened to them that night, we'll never know,” said Lily. Walter Shifflett told WUSA9, “I think children do need to learn the dangers of driving, especially around the country roads. I feel like this community has really taken this to heart."
Unable to change the past, there's one thing Lily Shifflett said helped shaped their future. It was one of the last conversations she had with her son.
"He said to me, I'm not sure that playing football helps people,” said Lily, who also noted her son was looking at D-1 colleges toward the end of his junior year of high school. “He said, ‘I just don't feel right about playing football and hurting people, and I just want to help people.’"
Both parents launched the Patrick Shifflett Foundation hoping this will help people the way Patrick wanted to. With the foundation, the Shiffletts hope to donate clothing and food to Title 1 Montgomery County Schools. They also plan to provide a $2,500 scholarship to a Clarksburg High School graduate each year, which will not only keep Patrick's memory alive but all three of the young victims.
"We just feel strongly that we're going to let his life live on through all the good things we can do in his name,” said Lily Shifflett.
A fundraiser to help kick start the foundation is already in the works for Tuesday, November 22nd from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Chipotle on Century Boulevard in Germantown, Md.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Patrick Shifflett Foundation can visit http://www.patrickshifflettfoundation.org/