GREENWOOD, Ind. — On Thursday, a plane took off from Greenwood, Indiana and crashed in Lansing, Michigan.
Friday we learned the names of those who were killed and those still in critical condition.
One of the victims was John Lowe, 51, of Greenwood.
Lowe leaves behind a wife and a son who plays for the 7th-grade football team at Center Grove Central Middle School.
John was #77 back in the days when he played at Center Grove, and now his son is bearing those same numbers.
“Devastated. Not real. You never want it to hit home,” said fellow football father and friend, Sean Williams.
That’s how friends feel while remembering John Lowe.
“The night before, we actually had a game. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it due to work. But John made it, he was there, the bell made it,” said fellow football father and friend, Justin Peters.
Lowe was a father, a husband, a friend, but most of all, a loving member of the Center Grove community.
“He loved being out on the field or on the mat with the boys. He loved coaching them,” said John’s wife, Lori Lowe.
Lori lost her husband just one month ahead of their 28th Anniversary.
She says, Thursday morning she had a bad feeling about John flying. One because it was a smaller plane and two because of the weather. So she asked him to text her as soon as he landed.
“When 9:30 or 10 o’clock came I started to worry. Obviously, I began texting and calling with no answer,” said Lori.
She continued to reach out to others. About an hour later she heard the plane had crashed. Moments later, there was a press conference informing here three were dead, three were in critical condition, so she began to panic while waiting for the unknown.
“I had called NTSB, I had called the sheriff’s department, I’d call the hospital — I was not getting any phone calls back. Finally, the emergency room chief called me back and said she spoke with the sheriff and got permission to speak with me. And all they could do was confirm that he was not brought to the hospital,” said Lori.
At that point, she knew she lost her love of a lifetime. Now she’s struggling to express the loss to their son, Ben.
“My son is a strong kid. But I think that emotionally this is going to be really tough. John was his hero,” said Lori.
But these other fathers assured Ben, he lost a father but he’s gained nearly a thousand.
“I talked to him last night and said Ben, your story isn’t done. Your dad’s story is not done. He lives through you,” said Peters.
Most of all they will remember his loving spirit. But everyone will miss John ringing the bell before Center Grove football games to cheer on the kids.
“John has this huge railroad bell from his family from his father. And he brought it to all these games for the last eight years,” said Lori.
Years to be remembered for a lifetime.
“Cheers, John. I will see you overtime. I see Ben. We will watch over him like you would for us. Damn good man,” said Williams.
Meanwhile, Lori is heartbroken but remains strong and feels supported during this difficult time.
“I don’t know if I have the words to describe the feeling I have right now. The outpouring of love that I have received from the Center Grove community right now has been incredibly amazing and so selfless. I am truly grateful,” said Lori.
Monday, Center Grove Central and North are playing against each other, in what is Ben’s last football game.
Everyone is bringing a bell to honor John and to keep his tradition going. The game starts at 7 p.m.