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A best friend to all
Family remembers teen killed while skateboarding to school
OAK HILLS • Glossy, unframed snapshots of happier moments pepper the walls of Kyle and Christie Maxwell's Oak Hills home — colorful memories of a lost life that clearly served a purpose, they said.
Kyle and Christie grip each other’s hands while they talk about their late son, eyes moist, but not a tissue box in sight.
“About three days after he passed, I pulled out all the photos and taped them to the walls,” Christie said. “And they’re not just photos of him, but all of our kids. The photos have been really healing for us.”
On the morning of Sept. 13, their son, Jarod, was hit by car as he skateboarded to his bus stop. The nature of the roads in Oak Hills prevented a driver from seeing their son before it was too late. By the time his mother arrived on the scene, she knew he was gone. He was taken to Desert Valley Hospital, where doctors and nurses worked to resuscitate him for the better part of an hour, Christie said.
Immediately after his death, a memorial Facebook page was created in his honor, which immediately began collecting “likes.” To date, almost 3,000 individuals “liked” the page, an evident testimony to the young man’s impact on everyone whose life he touched.
“He never really knew a stranger,” Christie said. “After he died, neighbors we never even met would come to the door and say that Jarod came over and introduced himself when they moved in. He just enjoyed to outreach to people.”
According to his parents, Jarod, the third oldest of seven children, was known as a “chatterbox” who liked to learn as much as he could about everything and anything. His parents agree that he was always active and enjoyed being outdoors, enjoying nature.
“Right after he died, I asked, ‘God, Why did he have to die? He was so young. Why did God choose him?’ And then within a day, we started realizing that Jarod sprinted through his life. He finished what God sent him to do,” Christie said. “He was here for a reason. He touched so many lives in living, but touched so many more in his passing.”
Jarod, who was a sophomore at Encore High School, had trouble with staying organized in school, says his mother — and she now see why.
“He was flying through life,” Christie said, explaining that all he wanted to do was reach out to people and make people feel good. “His teachers loved him and he was always the first person to introduce himself to new students.”
His parents estimate that Jarod’s memorial service, which was held last Wednesday at Serrano High School, drew more than 700 people.
“Everyone who stood up and spoke about him said that he was their ‘best friend,’” Christie said. “How does someone have that many best friends? We had no idea how many lives he touched.”
Today, Kyle and Christie say that although they are grieving, they glean their strength from a deep faith in God, a faith that they shared with their son and the rest of their children.
“People say to me, ‘Oh, you’re so strong,’ but I am not strong,” Christie said. “My strength is only coming from God. God is carrying me right now. I just ask God to please help me through this. It’s not me.”
Two days after his death, students and faculty at Encore high school wore all blue — Jarod’s favorite color — and released blue balloons in Jarod’s honor.
“We were so glad that we got to share that moment with them,” Kyle said. “We will never be the same again but in a positive, good way.”