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Students at The Crossing in Goshen gather to remember friend

By December 21, 2010No Comments

Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 By Marlys Weaver Reporter GOSHEN — A black sheet covers a computer, desk and chair at The Crossing in Goshen, a sign on top that reads: “RIP. You will be missed.” It’s a constant reminder to other students at the alternative school that one of them is no longer there. Students from The Crossing and other friends of Christofer J. Pumfrey gathered Monday evening at The Crossing for a time to share their stories of the 15-year-old boy and the sudden change in their lives with his death. Chris died Dec. 2 after being hit by a train at the railroad crossing with North 5th Street in Goshen. Several peers shared their stories of Chris during the evening, many remembering his knack for fun and humor, while Rob Staley, executive director of The Crossing Educational Center, and Steve Reynolds, The Crossing’s character development coordinator, helped students process the situation. Many of the people there were Chris’s friends from Goshen Middle School, where he attended until starting as a freshman at The Crossing this past September. Several stories left the crowd laughing through their tears. “He was a guy that made you laugh and picked up your spirits,” Staley said. Reynolds told the crowd that though he had not known Chris, conversations with family and friends made some things obvious. “This kid had an electric personality,” he said. Several students also mentioned times when Chris had comforted them during sad or frustrating times. “Chris knew how to cheer us up when we were sad,” said one girl, clutching the hand of another friend in hers. “He was a sensitive guy,” Staley said. “He wanted to include everybody. If somebody was down, he was there to encourage.” Chris’s mother, Christine Martinez, shared that it was not until after her son’s passing that she learned how he was helping several families in their neighborhood by watching over kids, taking them to a park to play, or doing helping out household chores. A few students shared original songs and poetry about Chris and his untimely death. Midway through the evening, Staley explained how few people plan for the cost of a funeral, let alone that of a 15-year-old and presented a check for $1,000 to Martinez. The Crossing and Goshen Community Schools are continuing to raise money to help the family with the costs. Staley said after the service that Chris’s burial didn’t provide a space for friends to share. “They hadn’t had a chance to tell stories and talk about Chris and do some processing,” he said. “You don’t want kids going through life without processing.” Staley said they are also offering additional meeting times and resources to help students both at The Crossing and at other schools to continue talking about their memories, and “wrestling with the tough questions.” The group ended with a prayer and encouragement to show support for Chris’s family and the 16-year-old who was with Chris the night of his death. “This is what it’s all about–remembering Chris for who he was and what he was and celebrating the cool and funny things he did in life,” Staley said. “It’s good to mourn and it’s good to remember.” © Copyright 2010 Truth Publishing Co.]]>