Prepared by Dean Hancock
May 3, 2007
My family and I are so grateful for the tremendous outpouring of love and compassion for us during this time. Normally, most families in our situation would be grieving anonymously, supported by family and friends within their communities. But Josh belonged to a much larger community. It is our good fortune to be getting strength from prayers, thoughts and encouragement, not only from our friends and family here, but from people throughout the nation.
I want to express my sincere appreciation to Major League Baseball, and particularly to the St. Louis Cardinals organization for their help and support during these last several days. Professional baseball players are brothers within a family, and the St. Louis Cardinals players and coaches are bonded like no other family in baseball. Josh was so proud to be a part of that family.
I want to thank our friends and the congregation of First United Methodist Church here in Tupelo for comforting us, and special thanks to the church staff for the almost impossible task of planning today’s celebration event to honor Josh’s life.
Thanks, also, to the public safety agencies of the state of Mississippi, the City of Tupelo, Lee County and Itawamba County.
I especially want to thank the media for respecting our privacy and Josh’s honor.
We have received so many calls and notes from total strangers telling us something wonderful about Josh. He was a great son, brother, friend and teammate. I hope that today’s ceremony will help all of us understand more about the true, good qualities of a young man who made so many people proud to know and love him.