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‘We Lost Three Great Young Men.’ -- Through Tears, Hugs, and Love, Clarksburg Begins to Heal



As the brilliant June sun was setting over the farmland that covers the rolling hills of the UpCounty, they came. Hundreds of students and their parents from Clarksburg, Damascus, Boyds and other communities – they came to the rustic barn — turned chapel — at the Difference Makers Church in Damascus to remember Jacob, Patrick, and Cary. They came to remember. They came to forgive. They came to be with each other. They came to hug. They came to cry. They came to love.


The pain and the sorrow was overflowing from the small chapel as the shell-shocked communities came together to lean on each other and find some way to come to grips with the sudden loss of three teenage boys, taken from them in a horrific crash less than 24 hours prior.

“We lost three great young men,” said Clarksburg Football Coach Larry Hurd, Jr., who coached all three boys last season.

Through sobs and tears, they remembered 17-year-old Jacob Dennis, 18-year-old Patrick Shifflett, and 17-year-old Cary Greene, who were killed when the pick-up truck they were in somehow smashed into a grouping of trees on a dark and winding country road late Tuesday night. The impact of that crash has sent shockwaves through the community and the entire county.

Three young lives cut so horribly short.



The crash site, with three trees lay bare and barkless from the impact, has become a focal point for the sadness of the community. The numbers of students, parents and anyone wanting to pay their respects forced the Montgomery County Police to close the road and have a traffic detail assigned to the intersection of Burnt Hill Road and Kingstead Road.

The police officers at the scene said there had been a steady stream of visitors to the crash site all day long on Wednesday. Visitors left flowers, balloons, and crosses, and they wrote messages of love on the bare trees at the site where their classmates left this life.

At the evening vigil, Pastor Clark Baisden tried to put the feelings of the community into words. He began by asking, “Have you noticed the wind has been blowing all day? It hasn’t let up all day. It is like your spirit inside of you — it has been restless. Those trees never stopped swaying. That’s how I felt all day long. It was just the constant blowing of the wind. The wind has been driving ever since we had been shaken by this news. It has been restless, like my thoughts. Never standing still, just like my thoughts, always wanting to move. Trying to find the good, but having no confidence in that thought, so blowing on to another.”