In 2002, a towboat accidentally pushed a barge into a concrete bridge support where Interstate 40 crossed the Arkansas River in Oklahoma. Although a third of the bridge collapsed, no one in their cars on the interstate was able to see that the bridge was out. Fishermen in boats below watched in horror as car after car going 70 miles an hour shot off the edge of the bridge, plunging sixty-two feet into the river. Three eighteen-wheelers went over, along with seven passenger cars.
The fishermen immediately began pulling survivors out of the water, but cars kept dropping into the river. The driver of one truck that was in the water shouted, “Somebody stop the cars!” A fisherman grabbed a flare gun from his boat and ran up to the interstate, where another semi was headed for the bridge. He fired the flare; it struck the truck’s windshield. The driver slammed on the brakes. The wheels locked and the truck came to a screeching halt with its front wheels hanging over the ledge. The driver was able to gain control, throw it into reverse and back it up, leaving his semi to block the road as a warning other drivers could see. Fourteen people died that day, but how many more would have died if one trucker had not hollered, “Somebody stop the cars,” and if one fisherman had not taken action?*
In the same way, the bridge is out for many of our boys: fatherless boys as well as boys with dads who are in the house, but not “at home.” They need our help. We know the bridge is out and boys all around us are about to go over the edge. They don’t know it, they don’t see any sign of it, but someone has to warn them, to tell them there is danger ahead. Will you help to launch the flare to save our next generation of boys? You can be a hero, a rescuer, a mentor. The men’s groups in our churches should be shouting out a warning to their men that we are losing our boys; then they need to set up a mentoring program to equip our men to set up the flares to save them.
Be a hero
* CNN.com, 28 May 2003; Bridge Recovery Work Yields 14 Bodies,” Fox News.com, 29 May 2002