Sometimes, lessons we learn in life are so harsh we have to learn from others. I will never fully comprehend the lessons to be learned from my sisters death, but telling her story is one way to share the experience with others and hope they can learn something. That’s what one local man did as part of his probation sentence.

The Oregonian reported today on Andrew Perez, a local man who accidentally shot his best friend a year ago. His friends mother and the judge for his trial both agreed that 5 years probation and 500 hours of community service would be his penance. Part of this ruling is that he needs to tell his story, and that’s just what he did yesterday to a group at the University of Portland. To a crowd of middle and high school students, Andrew built a tower of his poor choices that led to his best friend’s death and the crumbling of the tower, his world.

Andrew could see, in a vicious cycle of hind sight, how his poor choices led to his best friend’s death. As part of his community service, he is taking his story to teenagers, who will hopefully hear those choices and choose to make better choices. Choices. The hope for me is that we can learn lessons through other people so other’s don’t have to live through losing their best friends before 20 or their sisters before 30.

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