While Treacy Staunton's body headed home to Ireland, friends and soccer teammates sat in Parker Hall. They thought about the suspected drunk driver who slammed his car into a car Treacy was sitting in. And they reminisced about the Irish girl's all too short soccer career at William Carey College.
A soccer ball has always been a source of pride at William Carey. The soccer ball at the Treacy Staunton memorial service was more than that. It was a symbol of love -- the love of a 20 year old Irish girl for the sport she came to America to play. And the love of teammates for that inspirational girl.
During the 20 minute memorial service, William Carey Dean Jerry Bracey read the condolence letter he just sent to Treacy Staunton's parents back in Dublin, Ireland. "Treacy brought all of us peace and joy," he said. "We all have suffered a great loss. And our hearts are joined together with yours as we grieve and seek comfort from our Lord."
On the soccer field, Treacy wore number four. And she played fullback. But it was on the sidelines where her assistant coaches said the girl with the thick Irish accent truly shined. "I'll remember her smile," Sini Pietila said, "because I have never seen her sad face."
Oleg Chichkanov also talked about the first year player. He said she was "definitely the person that probably was enjoying life the most probably out of anybody."
That life was cut short last week because of a suspected drunk driver on Highway 90.
Treacy Staunton lived in Gulfport just seven months. In that short period of time, the Irish soccer player made an impression on her teammates and the community that no one who met her will ever forget.
Remember the soccer ball. The students at the memorial service all signed it. They wanted the Staunton family to have it as a symbol of their love for Treacy. "She was just a person who would come to you and make you feel better in two seconds," coach Pietila said.
Dean Bracey ended his letter to Staunton's parents by writing, "She was a leader on and off the soccer field. And she will be missed by everyone."
The drunk driving suspect in this case is 27 year old Michael Kramm. He's accused of felony DUI and leaving the scene of an accident causing death. According to records, this was the second time this year that police accused Kramm of a drunk driving offense.