CRESTON, Iowa — Shovels pierced into the Creston soil overturning fresh emotions. “It is reopened on a daily basis. It is just not anything you forget about. You don’t get over it,” said Beth Fry, mother of Amy Sharp who died along with her husband Kevin and two children Sterling and Adrianna in March while vacationing in Mexico. While asleep, the family of four inhaled toxic gases from a faulty water heater. “No family needs to go through what our families have been through,” Beth added.
Nearly seven months after their death, seventh grade Creston Middle School classmates of twelve year-old Sterling planted new life in his honor. “It was very honorable for Sterling,” said Renee Hoyt, Amy’s sister.
Each scoop had a purpose, and students shared the shoveling. “They have been in the healing process since the tragedy took place,” said Creston Middle School Principal Brad Baker.
Finally the Linden tree stood as firm in the ground as the Sharp family’s memory within the Creston community. Baker said, “Seeing the tree grow and prosper lets us remember the sharp family will not be forgotten.”
While tributes and memorials may not bring the Sharps back, their family members played a role in something that may save lives. They talked Governor Kim Reynolds into proclaiming November Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month. It is a gas that has killed an average of twenty Iowans a year since 2000. Beth said, “I don’t want somebody to drop their kids off at the neighbor’s house for a play date to spend the night without knowing that family is protecting everybody in the home with a detector.”
An eventual victory family members hope can spread much like the roots of Sterling’s tree. Renee said, “If we can save one person’s life, one family’s life, it is a victory.”