I’d like to share with you a little bit about my husband. Mike was a good, descent man. He loved his family deeply and put them above anything else. He was a devoted son to his parents, a devoted friend to his brother, a devoted father to our children, a devoted husband to me and a devoted comrade to his friends. He loved his country and had bravely served to protect it for 10 years in the U.S. Army as a Ranger. He was a Master Model Builder and once held the WV State Championship. He attended the Alaska State Seminary where he earned his degree in Theology. He was a standing member of the American Legion Post 7. He loved Classic Cars and once owned a Candy Apple Red 1962 2 door Belair that he sold when my car wore out and we needed the money for another family car. Years later he bought and customized a 1970 VW we all lovingly referred to as "The Motor Mouth" which he later gave to our oldest son Jason when he got his permit and needed a car to drive. He saw beauty in what God had created and he reflected that image through his photography. He had a special fondness for scenic and wildlife photography. He produced the most incredibly beautiful photos you can imagine. He was a self appointed Flag Buster who went and spoke to businesses about proper Flag etiquette whenever he spotted an improperly flown, torn, or dirty Flag. He accepted my son, Jason, as though he was his own and never loved him any less or any more than he loved his biological children. He was the kind of father that was always there for our children. He could be spotted at Southern High lying on the floor of the gym taking pictures of our oldest son, Jason, just so he could capture the expression on his face during the years he wrestled for the School . He was at every Little League Baseball Game our middle son Nikolas played moving around outside the field capturing various angles of his special moments for him. He was at every Pee Wee Basketball Game and Little League Baseball Game our youngest son Bryan played capturing his special moments for him. All the while he’d be cheering his boys on and comforting them through their defeats. He was actively involved in Cub Scouting with Nikolas & Tiger Cubs with Bryan. He went with them on all their camp outs, hikes and other activities plus serving as the pack Historian for several years. He attended all three of our boys school performances and let them know what a special honor it was to him. During the years I served as leader of the Durham Alliance for the Mentally Ill-Children & Adolescents Network he was an invaluable member of our group. It was Mike that dropped what he was doing to go help with a youth when their parents or guardian called frantic because they were out of control. He had a unique gift of being able to calm things down with little or no incident. It was Mike who went out raising funds and begging for groceries so we could achieve our goals for various projects during the holiday season which included providing gift baskets for all the youth in various programs serving mentally ill children, providing a months worth of groceries including Christmas Dinner items to approximately 10 to 12 of our membership families we knew were especially strapped during the holiday season and he helped to deliver all of it. Mike was always supportive of the boys and my endeavors and ready to remind us how important it was to us or other people if we had moments of weakness when we felt like tossing in the towel. Mike was and always will be the best friend I ever had.
Tragically on Dec.3, 1997 our families life was forever changed. The father of my children, the man I was going to spend my life growing old with, Michael Hall, was cheated out of his life by William Terry, IV. I’ll never forget the terror and pain in his face that horrible night as he leaned over close to me. I’ll never forget the complete helplessness I felt as I watched his pinned in, crushed body die. I can no longer remember the face of the man I loved as a living, breathing human being. All I can see of his face when I think of him now is the anguish I saw that night. The longing for him is almost unbearable. I feel as though half of me has been cut away. I’ve felt frighteningly lost without him. I don’t want to accept that he will never be with us again.
My two youngest children ages 7 and 10yrs.old, along with Mike’s parents, his only brother and one of our closest friends had to take on the daunting task of planning Mike’s funeral while they waited and wondered if I’d live or die. My children picked out their Daddy’s Casket and the suit he wore to be buried in. Many people have told me of the brave little boys greeting guest at the Funeral Parlor Viewing and standing at the head of their Daddy’s casket stroking his hair affectionately. My oldest son age 19 yrs. was told by the doctors as my next of kin he would have to be responsible for making some decisions about me if I didn’t wake up or if I had closed head injury with severe brain damage. By the grace of God I did finally wake up 2 1/2 days following the tragedy. Although I remember very little about my time in the hospital due to the sedation they kept me under I can remember the pain I felt, the constant excruiating pain. And, I remember the shock of seeing my battered, bruised and scarred body for the first time and realizing I’d carry the scars of that night with me for the rest of my life. I’ve been told I demanded permission to go to Mikes’ funeral or I would drag myself out of the bed. I was transported to and from his funeral by ambulance with Paramedics in attendance the whole time. I laid upon a stretcher heavily sedated with my children on each side of me. I remember the coldness of the Mausoleum, I remember the folded Flag being handed to me, I remember the sound of guns echoing through my body as they fired their salute, I remember seeing the lid of Mikes’ coffin lifted so I could say my goodbye, I remember looking down at him as his lifeless body lay there, I remember the Paramedics lifting me from the stretcher so I could give him one final kiss on his ice cold lips and I remember all the scouts from my two younger sons troop saluting me as they put me in the ambulance to go back to the hospital. I remember little else about that day. I was told that the scouts had planned their salute to me all on their own, because they knew Mr. Hall would have wanted them to show me their respect.
Words cannot begin to describe the effect Mr. Terry’s actions have had upon our family. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to Mikes’ parents to have to drive 18 hours from Florida just to bury their child, all the while trying to be strong for their grandsons and me. Or to Mikes’ brother, Mark, who rode with them just to see his only sibling, his big brother, laid to rest, knowing, he would never ever get to speak to him again. Can you imagine what my children are going through? My sons have been in counseling since their dads’ death trying to come to terms with it. Their grief has been the hardest thing for me to withstand. How can I take their pain away for them? How do I fill the void in their life? I can’t give them back what they lost or all that they’ll miss out on throughout their lives. It breaks my heart when Jason can’t even talk about his dad without getting choked up and shutting down. It broke my heart when Nikolas cried and told me; “no offense mom but you aren’t as good a camper as Dad was” when I went with him on a Science Stars Trip. It broke my heart when Bryan avoided what should have been an exciting night for him and he cried and told me; “my daddy won’t be at my first Cub Scout Pack Meeting”, so I reminded him, he’d be there in spirit and he turned to me with such anger in his face and screamed “but that’s not how I want him there”. Can you imagine what it feels like to face the hardest thing you’ve ever had to face in your life and the person you knew would help you get through it is the very person you’re facing your most difficult time over.
Mr. Terry made a conscious decision to go out and get drunk that night. He completely stripped us of our right to be safe on the roads. He gave us no choice about our life or death. He didn’t have an accident with us that night, because that would be something he couldn’t avoid. He chose this! All he had to do was not drive drunk. Was that to much to ask? His choice will affect our lives forever. Five, ten, twenty years from now when this has long since faded from your thoughts, me and my family will still be living with the results of that night. Your honor, I know that nothing you can do will ever bring Mike back to us but I beg of you; “please, don’t let his life mean nothing”. On behalf of my children, Mikes’ family and myself we ask that you exercise your authority to impose the maximum sentence possible on William Terry, IV.
Thank You Your Honor
Theresa D. Hall
In spite of my plea's the drunk driver was only sentenced to 6 months in the County Jail. He was also given 2 weeks to put his affairs in order before reporting to jail. Mike was never given a chance to put his affairs in order. His sentence is his grave.
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