Goodbye to Levi

Family, friends, and sympathizers gathered at Palenske Field on September 9 for a public memorial service after the sudden loss of Levi Grogan. 
Grogan was 17 years old when his life came to a sudden end at his home outside Willow Springs. He was a member of the WSHS Class of 2021. 
At the stadium, a stage and podium was set up for the speakers on the grass of the football field. Family and close friends sat in prepared seating on the running track. The stadium seats and bleachers were peppered with more friends and members of the public who gathered to help the family celebrate Levi’s life. 
Levi’s truck, piled high with friends and peers, slowly drove a half-circle around the running track at the start of the service. The passengers disembarked and took their seats. Matt Knapp was the first speaker to take the podium. 
“It helps to share the burden of our grief,” he said, “and to share the joy of the memories.”
Knapp shared two recent memories of Levi: one at church with him and one in which the young man was at his house, sitting on the sectional talking about, “...his life, family, truck, and the future he had planned.”
“He was sharing only his joy,” Knapp shared, “I’m going to hang on to those memories.”
Devin Daniels, owner of Daniels Tire Service and Levi’s boss, was next to speak. Daniels spoke of Levi’s frankness, saying, “You never had to guess where you stood with Levi. If he liked you, you knew it.”
Daniels shared funny stories of Levi’s pranks at work with rubber snakes and spiders, concluding, “I could go on and on about Levi and how great of a guy he was. Levi was bigger than life. How do you put into words the type of guy he was?”
Officer Glen Moore, the school resource officer, spoke next, starting out sharing that he got to know Levi when he got in a little trouble, though, it was “nothing too bad.”
“It was one of those times I’m thankful someone got in trouble because it meant I got to know him better,” Officer Moore said. 
Officer Moore shared a story that made everyone smile. Once in middle school, Levi started to feel sick in an assembly. The student seated next to him would not move when asked, so Levi proceeded to get sick in that student’s instrument.
“I think it was a trombone,” Officer Moore reminisced, calling it a “good use of resources.”
He exhorted the young people present to watch over each other and to be healthy as they grieve. 
“If you are a person of faith, use that strength,” Officer Moore said, “If not, consider it.”
Levi’s uncle, Robert Ennis, said a few words. Then his mother, Mandi Hood, read letters from his grandparents and school friends. His sister, Alyssa, stood up and read a letter she wrote to her brother. 
Ms. Hood resumed the podium and shared, “That boy has kept me on my toes since I had him.”
She spoke of the love Levi had for his family and the way he would aggravate his sister. She told a story about putting Levi to bed when he was 7 years old. She put him to bed at 9:00 p.m., and at 1:30 a.m., while she was getting a glass of water, Levi jumped out from a hiding space, accomplishing his goal of scaring his mother. 
“He had stood there for 5 hours,” she remembered, “and then said ‘Gotcha! Good night!’”
Ms. Hood addressed the crowd on the manner of Levi’s death, which was at his own hand. 
“I want to try to give advice to parents to protect their own kids, but I have none,” she said, “I spoke to all his friends, everyone at work. He was a happy kid with the world at his feet. I will tell you this. If he called and asked for fifteen more minutes [out with his friends], I’d say yeah. If he asked me to buy his lunch, I would say yes. I would do anything to buy him stupid Mexican [food]...Hold your babies close. Don’t take them for granted. Levi was spontaneous and passionate, and he didn’t think things through.”
Matt Knapp concluded the service by quoting John 3:16 and reminding those assembled that anyone’s name could truthfully be substituted for “the world,” as in “For God so loved Levi that he sent His only begotten son…”
“Jesus’ sacrifice is enough for all sin, for any mistake we could make,” Knapp said
After dismissing the assembly, Knapp announced a gathering in the youth building at Crossway Fellowship church for anyone who might want a place to go that night.
by Amanda Mendez, publisher


Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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