A Tribute to Trevor Times (1994-2012)
Today we welcome guest blogger, Tanya Tremps. Tanya and her fighter-pilot husband, two sons, daughter, dog, and cat live across the street from me. The following is dedicated to the memory of Trevor Times, an amazing and talented young adult who drowned on Memorial Day weekend. Trevor Times and his friends, including Trevor and Nick Tremps are Young Adults who epitomize all that is noble and admirable in our young adults.
Two years ago my family moved to Williamsburg, Virginia from San Antonio, Texas. It seems so easy to say that now, but this time two summers ago life was anything but easy. I am not adventurous by nature. I don’t like chaos, I crave routine, and I yearn for structure in my everyday life. I’m happiest when my surroundings resemble Pleasantville, and everything I need exists in a 5-mile radius. So it made absolutely no sense that I would fall in love and marry a thrill-seeking military fighter pilot. God works in mysterious ways.
We moved frequently when our two boys were small, but by the time our daughter arrived and our boys were approaching middle school, our moves slowed down. By the time we were given orders to relocate to Virginia, our sons had all but forgotten we were a military family. For our oldest son Nick, the timing of this assignment could not have been worse. The realization that he would have to move just before the start of his senior year of high school went over like a lead balloon. He hated us for it and I hated it for him. I would have done just about anything for him to avoid moving, but you can’t exactly tell the military “um, no thank you,” and I just wasn’t willing to separate our family. So I put on a brave face, told my children how fantastic this move would be and cried like a baby in the shower when no one was home. I cried not because I had to move but because one of my children was hurting and there wasn’t a darn thing I could do to fix it. So I prayed. Hard. I prayed that God would land us in an incredible community, filled with amazing kids with big hearts, that would welcome my family and instantly feel like home. I don’t ask for much, do I?
My husband began his job at Langley, AFB while we stayed behind in Texas to sell our home and say goodbye to friends that had become our family for the past five years. After the kids went to bed, I spent my nights studying web sites like GreatSchools.org, trying to match the perfect neighborhood with the perfect school for all three of my children. My cyber sleuthing determined the boys HAD to go to Jamestown High School and my daughter HAD to go to Matoaka Elementary. Due to recent redistricting in the WJCC school system, this was easier said than done.
While I used my computer to find a new home, my oldest son was using his to make new friends. Nick has been a golfer since the age of eight: yet, while I concerned myself with test scores and class size, I never thought to check out the high school’s golf team. Earlier in the year, Nick had committed to play college golf for the University of Virginia, so the high school golf team wasn’t my top priority. In fact, I didn’t even contact the golf coach until we had a contract on our new home. Turns out Jamestown High School had a pretty good golf team. Yes, God certainly works in mysterious ways.
Still upset about the move, in a rare moment that he decided to speak to us, Nick casually mentioned that a boy named Trevor Times had friend-ed him on Facebook, and that he also would be a new kid at Jamestown. Oh, and by the way, he was a golfer. And just like that, a friendship formed. As word spread in the Facebook community about the new kid coming to town, more “Facebook friends” reached out to Nick. Before showing up, he was already becoming part of a community.Nick stayed behind in Texas for a week or so saying his goodbyes.
The rest of the family including a 12 year old golden retriever and a fluffy orange cat made the long drive in triple-digit temperatures to our new home in Virginia.
The first day of golf practice, I dropped off my middle son Trevor, who would be a freshman at Jamestown, at the golf course and left him putting alone on the green waiting for practice to begin. I will be forever grateful to Jimmy Hewitt, a rising senior, for walking across the green to shake Trevor’s hand and welcome him onto the team. It was my first indication the kids in this community were something special. That year Jamestown’s golf team would go on to win the State tournament. But they not only shared a State title, the team shared a bond like no other. Few sports include matches that last anywhere from four to six hours, and when you factor in long bus rides, sleeping in hotels, and eating meals together, these kids moved quickly from teammates to family. It’s been said that most great golfers are good Ping-Pong players as well. I’m sure it has something to do with strong hand-eye coordination and this was very true of Nick and Trevor Times. Some of Nick’s greatest memories of his senior year were the marathon Ping-Pong tournaments played at Trevor Times’s home, often lasting late into the night.
Fast-forward two years to Memorial Day 2012. We were cooking out with friends when Nick called me, his voice shaking, to tell me Trevor Times had gone missing while swimming at College Creek. My first emotion was disbelief; surely he was just up river and couldn’t communicate his location. Then I prayed. Hard. All that night and the next morning we hoped against hope and prayed for a miracle until our worst fears were confirmed. Trevor was gone. And in that terrible realization, everyone who knew him was changed forever.
Teenagers who once thought themselves invincible and immortal retreated to their parents’ arms and wept like babies. Parents hugged their children for dear life, realizing how fragile, how fleeting, and how precious life is. Parents, teachers, coaches, and counselors rallied around students who knew Trevor as their teammate, their classmate, best friend, or just that guy with the brilliant smile. Hard questions to which no good answers exist were cried out over the following days. As a human, life on earth is rarely fair, but as a Christian, I have to believe that God is glorified equally by life’s celebrations and it’s tragedies, and his plan for us made perfect…. even when I don’t understand His ways.
It was in those first few days after Trevor’s death that I saw glimpses of God’s light shining through the tears of those who loved him most. The evening of the visitation at the funeral home, I’m positive few students were prepared for the range of emotions they would experience. I was brought to tears at the sight of students holding on to each other, taking turns being strong for one another and even carrying out a classmate in their arms who was so overcome with grief, he collapsed at the sight of Trevor in his open casket.
In the days that followed, while we adults seemed almost paralyzed in our grief, I was struck by this community’s young people’s profound desire to remember and honor Trevor. If you’ve ever wondered what true leadership, strength, and maturity look like; you can look to the teenagers of Williamsburg, Virginia:
• The day he died, close friends and members of the golf team gathered at College Creek to toss flowers and signed golf balls into the water to say goodbye to their beloved friend. The following day students gathered around Jamestown High’s flagpole to remember Trevor and pray for his family. Both friends and acquaintances wrote messages and prayers to him on paper hearts and taped them to the flagpole.
• The ‘rock’ outside Jamestown High, normally painted in festive colors to celebrate homecoming and spirit week, was painted black with his initials in white above a red heart in remembrance of Trevor. Soon it became a makeshift memorial where golf balls signed with messages of love, stuffed bears, flowers, and even notes left by students of rival high schools piled high. I’m told that other high schools in the area did the same to the boulders in front of their schools in his honor.
• His teammates talked of planning a high school golf tournament in Trevor’s name, a tournament so big that it would bring teams from all over Virginia to play in Williamsburg. This would ensure Trevor would always be a part of high school golf. Jamestown’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams dedicated the remainder of their seasons to Trevor, pointing skyward and crossing their arms in a “T” with every goal scored.
• One enterprising young college freshman designed T shirts in Eastern Carolina University colors with Trevor’s favorite phrase, “Stay Schemin'” on the front and his initials on the back. The profits of his shirts will go to the ECU golf scholarship fund in Trevor’s name.
• At Trevor’s funeral, his closest friends garnered enough strength to speak to the hundreds gathered in the church and hundreds more, in overflow seating, with maturity beyond their years, sharing fond memories and funny stories, momentarily replacing tears with much needed smiles and laughter.
What impressed me most was these young adults weren’t being told what to do or how to do it. They just did what was in their hearts to remember a friend they loved. And in doing so, their actions began to heal themselves and each other, and in turn, the whole community.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Trevor’s shining smile and pray for his family. Sometimes, in a moment of weakness, I wonder how God could allow a beautiful light to be extinguished so soon. But I am reminded that through the gaping holes left in the hearts of the young people in this community, we have seen God’s love and mercy shine bright. They will carry that light with them all through their lives and by doing so, Trevor’s memory will live on forever.
Pay attention to the news and other media and you might believe that most teens are selfish, irresponsible, lazy—the list goes on and on. But I’ve been blessed to see inside the hearts of hundreds of young adults in Williamsburg and I can tell you they are loving, compassionate, resilient, and stronger than even they know. They make me proud. God’s ways may be mysterious indeed, but He answers prayers in a big way.
I will always be grateful He led us to an incredible community filled with amazing kids with big hearts, who welcomed my family with open arms and, with remarkable young adults like Trevor Times and his friends, made us feel instantly at home.