Callie Michele McCraw
November 18, 1981 - March 24, 1998
Killed by a Drunken Driver
May 15, 2000
Sergeant Major James O. Bowman is mentioned throughout this website for many different reasons. He was Callie's ROTC instructor, mentor, Guardian Angel, guidance counselor and (most importantly) friend. It is for those reasons that Callie's friends chose him to give the special dedication speech.
We would like to honor SgtMaj Bowman by placing this heartfelt poem that he so tearfully poured from his lips during that speech:
Our hearts were almost broken, as you fought so hard to stay.
God watched you as you suffered and knew you had your share.
He gently closed your eyes and took you in His care.
Your memory is our keepsake, with that we will part.
God has you in His keeping, we have you in our hearts.
I would love to say more.... but right now... I am fighting back more tears than have come at any one time in the past year! Thank you for reading. And... Thank you Sgt Maj Bowman. You are truly the BEST!!!!!!
March 24, 2000...
We would like you to hear about some of the great and wonderful things that have happened to us over this past week. We were able to meet some glorious people that are, in every way, connected to us and our precious Angel, Callie. Click Here to learn about our trip.
March 7, 2000...
We have been quite busy over the last year. The emotional rollercoaster has been quite busy as well, but not as busy as last year... Until. We actually got to meet Callie's heart recipient, Fred on February 24th... 23 months to the day after losing Callie. We cordially invite you to take a peek into that very special moment in our lives by CLICKING HERE.
March 24, 1999...
The last update to this page was September 18, 1998. That was the day Lisa Sanders was sentenced. Someone took it upon themselves to add some images to the page located at the link titled "Callie's Story." Whoever did this... we wish we knew who you were, so we could thank you ourselves.
This addition is being written at 8:10 am. Exactly one year and fifteen minutes since Callie left this earth and traveled to heaven. This past year has been filled with some of the lowest points in our lives. The high times have been few and far between, but we feel we must tell you a little about them.
We have watched, painfully, as Callie's friends have blossomed and matured. We say painful because of the empty space created by that one careless individual that has become our cross to bear. Some of them have taken it upon themselves to be there for us. There are a few but the one standout in the large crowd is Chad Applebaum. Chad has been a wonderful friend to us on this past year. We have proudly watched as he has matured and become a responsible MAN. He has kind of "adopted" us as a surrogate family.
Earlier this year we began communicating with other "Donor Moms," mothers who have lost children close to Callie's age who in turn donated their organs. This has been very therapeutic for both of us. We are able to share our experiences and help each other through the hard times ahead.
Speaking of organs... Have you signed an Organ Donor Card??? We are presently aiding in the design and publishing of the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency website. We would like to extend a big "THANK YOU" to MORA. Without them, and the assistance they have provided, this year would have been doubly hard on us.
During the original design process of this website, we neglected to mention one very special person. Not just a teacher... but a FRIEND! Joan Henderson-Leese. "Ms. Joan," as Callie referred to her, was one of Callie's favorite people. It was through her love of music, and dedication to her students, that Callie was introduced to a whole new world: The world of music. Joan was Callie's piano teacher.
Joan dedicated a scholarship within her studio to Callie. The Callie Michele McCraw Memorial Scholarship Award will be presented annually to the student who most posesses qualities like Callie's: "a desire to learn, a willingness to work and a continuing progress in performance."
OUR CHILD WHO KEEPS GIVING
A special person gave something so precious...life to others in her universe. A child...a girl...a young woman. She walked through her life giving and now her life continues through others - those special people who were fortunate to receive her organs.
Something about her? She was a high school student involved in her school and community. A Cadet Captain in her ROTC unit, she also served as President of the American Red Cross ROTC chapter. Driving students after school for the mentoring program took several afternoons a week. She was a member of the local little theater group and served on the tech crew.
She was an artist - recently receiving a scholarship for her work. She was a pianist with natural talent most people only dream about.
She had received numerous scholastic awards over the years...an honor roll student.
She was compassionate about her "critters"--her doggie and fishies and hamsters!
She was in love with a wonderful young man....who stood by her bed at the hospital and said, "Baaaabeeee, I'm here."
Her room is littered with posters of animals, TAZ, current stars and her art work. Glow-in-the-dark stars and space ships dot the spaces between them and illuminate the night after we turn out the lights. Her Pet Nets are full of various stuffed babies collected through the years. Her key chain collection hangs on the wall depicting places and things. Her bulletin board is a collage of her biggest and warmest memories from her Titanic ticket, boarding passes, her Valentine's Card from her "guy" to various plays, movies, events, letters and her Pillsbury Dough Boy. Her music collection still sits on her table with her favorites out of their cases. Her cap collection hangs on the wall. Books by her favorite author, R. L. Stine, have been stored away...at last count - 104! Her purse still sits on top of her headboard. Her black sheets and comforter still adorn her bed (along with 20 or so more stuffed animals). Her dream catchers possess the northern wall near her bulletin board. The small portrait of her "honey" still sits by her clock on the night stand.
Next to her door is an invitation to the lst Annual Volunteer Recognition Awards Dinner for the American Red Cross. She had stuck it to the wall so she could RSVP...the dinner was the night she died.
She left for school one beautiful morning and never came back home again. She never spoke again. She never kissed her beau again. She never said, "I love you." again.
The only way this beautiful child can say, "I love you.", is through her organ donation recipients. We know she lives on through them and would like to know who they are and how they are doing.
Only a few were blessed enough to know Callie while she was alive. Her circle is growing daily. Not only from the organ recipients who were granted another day, but the friends who are caring enough to take their time to read about her. To all of you, we say, "Thank you".
Our hardest times are the simple times...like seeing flowers growing wild on the side of the road or hearing one of her favorite songs on the radio or watching the teenagers hanging out with each other...like I said...the simple things!
To our Callie, may you bring comfort to those who read your page. You brought so much joy to us and you will continue to bring joy to others. That is why we chose the epitaph...
That says everything you were, are, and will be!
The woman who killed Callie was sentenced, on September 18, 1998, to 25 years in prison, 10 suspended, with a 5 year, extremely strict, probationary period after her release.
Jennifer Whitehead, one of Callie's vast group of friends wrote a powerful letter to The Vicksburg Post. The last line is the most poignant:
Many people ask us about the Criscadel Valley. That is a place for us...a combining of our union....
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