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“Growing Together”
October 29, 2008

When the Good Die Young…we all ask “why?” and we all cry.

Three of the most beloved kids at Elmwood-Murdock were killed in a car accident this week. Dillon Synovec, 15, Tyler Eggert, 15, and AJ Washington,17, were doing what many of our kids were doing that day…driving home from a school event. The kids had been working at the Lofte Theatre in Manley. They were raising money for the “Youth to Carnegie Hall” group. They were all excited at the prospect of performing at Carnegie Hall and were doing all they could to help raise money to ease the cost of the trip for families. They were less than a mile from Murdock when they lost control of the car on a country road. They were broadsided by a pickup and died instantly. The pickup truck driver, Don Ross, was transported to Lincoln with injuries but will recover.

I thought it was going to be so very hard to write about the kids but the words just flow when describing such great people. So many times when a young person dies you hear that they were the best person and had just turned their life around. Which makes you wonder what they turned from. For Dillon, AJ, and Tyler, they didn’t need to turn their lives around. They were already on track. They were well adjusted, popular, fun loving kids. They were the kids you wanted your kids to hang out with.

AJ Washington, 17, was a bubbly, happy person who was headed for the Army. She was going to save the world. She worked at the local gas station and knew everyone. She was a fun girl who kept her friends close and made them all feel special.

Dillon Synovec and Tyler Eggert were two peas in a pod. If you saw one, you knew you would see the other. When we moved to Elmwood in 2002 my daughter was instantly drawn to the two boys. They have a bond that runs very deep that will live on because she will not forget them. Dillon was an outgoing, friendly person who made everyone think that they were the most important person to him. And I truly believe that Dillon thought so, too. Dillon had a passion for people and lived to be with his friends and family. He loved to come skating and hang out with his friends. And eat the caramel waffle sundaes with chocolate syrup. He could be the band geek, the football jock, the singer, the nerd, the stud…he fit in with everyone.

Tyler was more quiet yet could be the class clown and make everyone laugh. He was faithful and devoted to his friends. He wasn’t afraid to take chances and he could sing like an angel. His rosy cheeks and quick smile endeared him to everyone.

There are only 120 kids in the Elmwood-Murdock High School so everyone is very tight. The kids are more like family and this loss is devastating. Josiah Poole fashioned a memorial in the school welding shop to be put at the crash site. Josiah, Sam Stevens, Garyn Folden, and Millie went on a mission Monday to Lincoln to get items for the roadside memorial. Other kids brought personal items such as Dillon’s track shoes, pictures, and Tyler’s tackle box. Nathan Fries and Austin Kuenning made the crosses and Josh Schwaller helped them dig the holes in the ditch. Then the kids assembled at the crash site for a candlelight vigil. Nathan encouraged everyone to be strong, remember their friends, and most of all…drive safely. He emphasized this point repeatedly and the kids nodded in agreement through their tears. Each person took a turn filling in dirt for the crosses and signing them. They promised to maintain the memorials and to drive by frequently to remind themselves of their friends.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families. They are now members of an exclusive club that we do not want to belong to. But we want them to know we are here to support them. Their kids were like our kids. Their loss affects us all and we will stand by them.

Visitation for AJ Washington will be Wednesday, 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm. At Hammons Family Funeral home in Weeping Water. Her funeral will be Friday, 11:00 at the Cass County Fairgrounds.

Dillon's visitation will be Friday from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Murdock Methodist Church. Family will be there from 3:00 – 6:00 pm. At the time this was written Tyler's visitation arrangements have not been finalized.
The boys were together daily in life, together in Heaven, and it is only fitting that they will have a shared funeral. The families of Dillon and Tyler have planned a joint funeral at the Elmwood-Murdock High School on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. There will be a Memory Party for Dillon, Tyler, and AJ at the Flying Wheels Saturday night. Friends are encouraged to come and hang out and remember them. A free will donation will be accepted at the door with all the proceeds being donated to a fund to be used for a future memorial.

Our thoughts and prayers are also with the rescue personnel and firemen on the scene. How thankful we are that these people are there to take care of us and ease our burden. It is heart wrenching to know that they had to deal with this and will have to continue dealing with it. We thank you all for everything you do for us.

Dillon, Tyler, and AJ would want their friends to remember them but also to go on with their lives. I know that my life was changed by knowing them even before their deaths. They were inspiring in their energy and their positive attitudes. They would encourage everyone to go forth and live life to the fullest. And while you are doing that make sure you have a good time. I picture them sliding into Heaven screaming “Whoohoo!!! What a ride!” because that is how they lived life, to the fullest.

Remember, it’s not the number of breaths you take in life, but the number of breaths you take away. Tyler, Dillon, and AJ took my breath away.

Insert pictures here of the kids and memorials.

Dillon, Millie, and Tyler


AJ and her sister Beth heading into Homecoming, 2007

Millie and Tyler

Tyler, Sammie Olson, Ashli Brown, Jill McLaughlin, Millie, Dillon – Homecoming 2007

Dillon – encouraging me to sing more Barry Manilow. Notice he is alone in that. He was probably just being nice.

Tyler, Ashli, Millie, and Jesse Osmond

Roadside Memorial

Tyler’s memorial

Dillon’s memorial

AJ’s memorial

T-shirt memorial

Dillon’s track shoes

Flower memorial

Josiah’s plaque for Tyler, AJ, and Dillon







Bloom Where You're Planted Farm
will be open on Halloween day from 1:00-6:00 p.m.
Come out for some last-minute fall fun & some great bargains!

***Fill a wagon with ALL THE PUMPKINS IT CAN HOLD for just $10.00!

***Buy two squash and get the third free!

***Mums are now just $7.00--plant them in your garden this fall for a great display next year!

***Find great bargains on select food items in the store, too!

Kids in costume will receive a free trick-or-treat goody bag, and we'll be serving up hot dogs and tasty pulled pork sandwiches to fuel you up for the big evening ahead. This is your last chance to visit the pumpkin patch before we close for the season, and it looks like we're in for some great weather. Hope to see you there!


Lofte Community Theatre
P.O. Box 62
Manley, NE 68403

The Lofte Community Theatre would like to announce that it will be hosting The United States Air Force Heartland of America Band's country/rock band, "Night Wing" at its second annual Veteran's Day Concert. Night Wing will present a free concert at the Lofte at 2pm on Sunday, November 9th. Doors to the auditorium will open at 1:30pm. Playing the best of today's top 40, classic rock and country, Night Wing will have you on your feet and dancing. This event is free and open to the public.

Night Wing was deployed to support troops during Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Their most recent deployment had them log over 75 hours in the air while covering 24,000 miles. They performed 37 concerts in 15 days, including shows at construction sites, in flight lines and maintenance hangars; just about anyplace they could find. Band musicians are full-time Active Duty members of the Air Force and have gone through their Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

Those who have questions in regards to this Veteran's Day event may contact the Lofte Box Office at (402)234-2553, or visit their website,

Time to buy your chance in the 2009
Weekly Drawing for

52 weeks
$100.00 winner
every Saturday
are now on Sale

Contact Any Elmwood Volunteer Rescue member
Ed Blunt 994-3295 Miki Bruns 994-2770 Jennifer Brettmann
Theresa Brown Mike Krass John Oehlerking Konia Jones
Ben Kastens Jordan Peterson Ken Kunz Jeff Clymer
Heath Vogt

Are you crafty? Do you have treasures to sell?
Get your stuff together and reserve your booth at the Elmwood Extravaganza Craft and Garage Sale Treasure Sale. This will be held during the Elmwood Extravaganza on Saturday, November 29th. Reserve your space now by contacting Julie Anderson @ (402)867-4123 or email:

Change to the Schedule:
Flying Wheels Fun Center
Halloween All Nighter
Due to the tragic events of the week the All nighter will end at midnight. Another All Nighter will be scheduled in the near future.

Halloween Skate/Dodge
Friday, October 31st
6:30 – midnight
Costume Contest; Haunted Closet; Games; Skating; Dodgeball; and Snacks!!!

Dillon, Tyler, AJ Memory Party
Saturday, 6:30 pm
Flying Wheels Fun Center
Come hang out and share memories Dillon, Tyler, and AJ.

You can skate, dance, sit, play cards, laugh, cry, and remember the good times. Free will donation accepted at the door with the proceeds to go to a fund for a future memorial. Free pop and snacks!
(Not a normal skate night…this is a private party for friends of Dillon, Tyler, and AJ.)

Fall Festival for the kids
Saturday proved to be a perfect day for the Fall Festival at the Elmwood-Murdock Elementary School. Kids showed up in a variety of costumes from baby chicks to the grim reaper. Thanks to the SOS for sponsoring the party and to the FBLA for helping make it a success!

Something is SLITHERY at the Library!
After the Fall Festival the kids were invited to stop by the Elmwood Library to see the Snake Lady! Joe was first in line! My son loves creepy crawly things and wouldn’t miss the opportunity to handle them. The kids learned all kinds of facts about snakes and reptiles. More information than I ever imagined possible!

Saturday Night at the Rink! Birthday Party Central!
With three birthday parties going at once the rink could have been wild but it was not. The kids had a great time at their parties and didn’t miss a thing. Two brothers from Auburn celebrated their birthdays and a thirteen year old from Louisville brought her friends down for her party. A good time was had by all! Even those not there for the party!

High School construction progress is a soupy mess this week!

Junior High PE Class learns Philippino dance

Pat Wray, physical education teacher at the Junior High, invited me to watch her 8th grade PE class demonstrate the dances they’ve learned during the module on dancing. They did the Tinikling dance for me. And a line dance, too. First they start with a warm up where they do push ups, jumping jacks, stretches, and other exercises that made me hurt just watching them. So you are wondering what the Tinikling dance is? I was too. So I looked it up on Wikipedia and this is what I found.
“The Tinikling is a dance from the Philippines which involves two people hitting bamboo poles, using them to beat, tap, and slide on the ground and against each other in coordination with one or more dancers who step over and in between the poles in a dance.
The name is a reference to birds locally known as Tikling, which can be any of a number of Rail species; the term tinikling literally means "tikling-like".
Tinikling involves five steps, of which the first four, dancers are dancing opposite each other, and the last step, they have to start from the same side of the poles. It originated in Leyte among the Visayan islands in central Philippines as an imitation of the tikling bird dodging bamboo traps set by rice farmers. The bamboo is also used as a percussive instrument as it is banged against the ground (or a piece of wood to make it easier to hold) and each other in a pattern. When the bamboo closes it has to be hard enough to make a sound and the dancers must be quick enough to not get their foot (or feet) caught. As the dance continues the banging of the bamboo becomes faster and harder , the sound of clashing bamboo thrills the crowd and the quickness of feet demonstrated by the dancers awes them.
In the United States, tinikling is taught as part of physical education class in many elementary schools and middle schools. It is a form of aerobic exercise that also improves spatial awareness, rhythm, foot and leg speed, agility, and coordination.”
The kids were good at it and seemed to enjoy it. The line dance also made them smile. As much as 14 year olds can smile when they are forced to dance, that is.

A Good Day for a Fire!

Finally the conditions are right with the wind died down for the local brush pile in Elmwood to be burned. Tuesday morning the smoke rolled out of Elmwood making people curious as to the source. Being the nosy type I followed the smoke and found that Dan Spaulding and Ed Blunt seemed to be keeping an eye on the situation.

Pink Out for Breast Cancer Awareness
The Elmwood-Murdock volleyball girls played against the Malcolm Clippers Monday. Though opponents on the court they were united in their effort to raise awareness and money for the fight against breast cancer. Both teams and coaching staff wore special pink shirts stating their purpose. The fans in the stands also wore pink. The girls sold raffle tickets for “Split the Pot”, too. A good effort and a great way to bring two teams together for a common goal.

Scrappers Marathon
Saturday, Nov. 8th 2008
9 am to 12 midnight

Elmwood Murdock High School
Murdock, NE
Join your scrap-happy friends for 15 hours of scrap-booking fun, good food, and friendship.
No time or space to work on those scrap books you have been meaning to get to? This is your chance to spend some quality time turning your favorite photos and me mementos into lifetime keepsakes.

Need help or supplies? Creative Memories consultant Mary Simon will be on site throughout the marathon with scrap-booking supplies and professional advice. She will also be teaching an optional Power Scrapping class. Whether you are an experienced scrapper or a novice, you will find inspiration and ideas for your scrapping pleasure.

Registration fee includes brunch, and afternoon dessert bar, dinner, and several special “make and take” classes demonstrating techniques.

Basic Registration: $35
Power Scrapping Class: $5
Electric Outlet at table $5*
*Tables very limited

Space is limited. To register send fee, name, address, email address, and telephone number to:
Scrappers Marathon
409 310th Street
Elmwood, NE 68349

For more information contact:
Cindy @ (402)994-5995
Kristy @ (402)994-2545

Proceeds from this Scrap Crop will go to help kids from Elmwood-Murdock with extra curricular activities.


That’s all for this week. Take extra time this week to remember the kids we’ve lost and to hold yours closer. Life is fragile and they are special.



Julie Anderson


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