Aaron and Rachael Horton were two bright, young, talented shining stars when their lives ended in the early morning hours of April 8, 2011 in a fire in their Lynchburg apartment.
Sadly, I never had the opportunity to meet Rachael, but I knew Aaron, his sister Leah and their parents for many years. I served as a school volunteer with Ken and Barbara Horton from elementary school through high school.
The loss of a child is every parent's worst nightmare a devastating event in the life of a family. Some families crumble under the weight of the loss.
I can't imagine the excruciating pain these two families have lived through over the past two and a half years. Instead of remaining forever turned inward in their grief, both families decided to honor their children's lives and memories.
Both Aaron and Rachael were passionate about life, family and their faith in God. Each also had individual interests which they held dear to their hearts.
Aaron loved history, his major at Liberty University. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Aaron went on to earn a Masters in Ancient History and Classical Studies from the University of Wales Lampeter.
Aaron planned to pursue a doctorate in Ancient History and hoped to join the faculty at Liberty University to share his passion for history with the next generation of students.
Rachael loved animals and worked as a veterinary assistant at Gentle Care Animal Hospital in Forest for almost 7 years. Rachael made an impact in the lives of many animals who passed through the doors at Gentle Care.
Rachael went out of her way to make the animals comfortable, offering both physical and emotional support. When families were unable to cover the cost of lifesaving care, Rachael helped, digging deep into her own pockets.
On Sept. 14, 2013, the 3rd Annual Rachael Horton Paws & Purrs 5K & 10K will be held on the Blackwater Creek Trail. Runners, walkers and dogs will begin at 8:30 a.m. behind Amazement Square.
The Rachael Horton Compassionate Care Fund helps families cover the cost of lifesaving care for their four-legged family members.
Online registration is still open for the Rachael Horton Paws & Purrs. On Saturday, Aug. 31, Barbara Horton and members of the Rachael Horton Compassionate Care Fund will be at Lynchburg Community Market from 7 a.m. to noon. Come on out, register for the race and you'll get a free t-shirt on race day.
On Oct. 4, a benefit concert will be held at Robin Alexander in downtown Lynchburg to help the Aaron Horton Scholarship Fund. The fund benefits students pursuing a masters degree in history.
Liberty University has promised a dollar-for-dollar match once the Aaron Horton Scholarship Fund reaches $25,000. Donations can be made to the fund at the website or by mailing a check to Liberty. See the website for complete information.
If you can contribute to one or both of these funds directly or by attending the events, you will help others as you honor the lives and memories of Aaron and Rachael Horton.