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One look at his son’s smile told Craig M. they would ride that day. Patrick, 17, had attended his high school graduation rehearsal the morning of May 22, 2012, and they were both free until an awards event that night.
Father and son donned their helmets, mounted their motorcycles and headed toward Gun Lake, northeast of their home in Plainwell, Mich. The woodsy trek of winding roads was a biker’s dream. It became a nightmare.
The accident
On a new bike that sat lower than his old one, Patrick had to lean close to the ground on turns. He ran out of road on a tight “s” curve, skidding over the edge and through a street sign. Paramedics were unable to help. Patrick was gone.
Two days later, the family attended graduation. In Patrick’s honor, classmates pinned a piece of flannel fabric on their graduation gowns and wore bandanas on their left hands. “It was heartbreaking,” mom Karen says, “but he was part of that ceremony.”
Prepared for the unthinkable
Karen and Craig had met Modern Woodmen Financial Representative Tom Holmes the previous fall at a local fair. Small-business owners, (Karen manages a storage facility and Craig runs American Coal and Stove) the couple staffed a booth next door.
The couple found Modern Woodmen’s Step One® life insurance plan for children and young adults to be a great value for Patrick. They chose to make the low, one-time payment for paid-up coverage. They also put money into an annuity for younger son Garrett and purchased life insurance for Karen. She never dreamed Tom would be at their doorstep to comfort them and provide Patrick’s death benefits less than a year later.
Karen recalls a fleeting thought she had while driving away from the accident scene. “I remembered that he had $25,000 of life insurance to take care of any funeral issues,” she says. “It gave me amazing peace of mind at that moment, in the middle of absolute tragedy, not to have to worry financially.”
Help for others
Patrick’s quiet confidence served him, and others, well. “He was a hard worker and the protector of the underdog in school,” Karen says.
He loved working with his hands, whether restoring his 1992 Firebird or teaching himself to play guitar. He had planned to attend Kalamazoo Valley Community College to earn his heating, ventilation and air conditioning certification and work at his dad’s business. The family established a scholarship in his name, to provide $2,500 to the graduating senior with the most improved grade-point average.
“This is for the student who works the hardest, which is what Patrick was all about,” Karen says.
They’ve also worked hard to protect their own family financially. “You’re an emotional wreck after tragedy,” Karen explains. “Life insurance, car insurance … all insurance adds another level of peace of mind.”'s-legacy.aspx