Preventing a Tragedy

There is a small fountain in Kathy Graef's backyard.

The sound of the water is comforting and somewhat painful at the same time, because water is what killed her son Tucker.

"The trauma he experienced through this whole thing plays over and over in my head all day long," said Graef.

Tucker died at age 14 on a rainy day last June with his friend Kevin Carman. Two kids caught in a sudden rainstorm who ended up in a swollen Cottonwood creek.

"Maybe like a lot of kids they thought they were invincible,” said Graef.

And imagining what happened to Tucker is more than she can bear.

"Going into a tunnel full of darkness, being disoriented, getting bashed around until you succumb to drowning. At what point did he lose his life?

The city's approved thousands of dollars for an educational campaign since last summer's tragedy, putting up caution signs near schools and waterways to let people know creek beds are no place to be during a rain storm.

"We don't want anyone hurt or injured or worse yet, possibly lose their life this summer."

Kathy believes the city is doing what it can, but hopes a she might help find a solution that will allow people to help themselves out of the creeks if they fall in…an option she thinks Tucker never had.

“It's because this nightmare goes over and over in my head everyday. I want to make sure it doesn't happen to anybody else."

The city's plan also includes providing interactive computer software to local schools, which kids will learn before breaking for the summer.
A number of related public service announcements will also air in local movies theaters.