We will forever use our memories of his smile, his sense of humor, his
humilty and generosity, and his big-heart as an inspiration to make our lives,
and the lives around us more complete and whole.

February 7, 1985 - July 21, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Big-hearted kid mourned

By Brenna R. Kelly
FOSTER – Stephen Elrod was a high school basketball star, class valedictorian, college basketball player, scholar and to all who knew him, a friend.
"Stephen had one of the purest hearts of anybody I know," said Happy Osborne, basketball coach at Georgetown College, where Elrod played from 2003 to 2007. "He was so positive; he saw the good in everybody."

Today friends and family will say goodbye to Elrod, who died Tuesday after his truck struck a tractor-trailer shrouded in heavy fog on the AA Highway in Campbell County. He was 24.
"He was a big-hearted kid," said his father, Rick Elrod. "He was ever-smiling and always had time for someone else."
Stephen Elrod was valedictorian of the Pendleton County High School class of 2003, graduated from Georgetown with a business degree in 2007 and was five classes away from completing his master's in business administration at Northern Kentucky University.

"He's the kind of person that you wish your daughter would marry," Osborne said. "He was going to be successful and he was driven, but yet he always had time for people."

Rick Elrod said his son was a great conversationalist who enjoyed talking to people much older than him. He also loved hunting deer and turkey on the family's Pendleton County farm.
At Pendleton County, Stephen Elrod was a standout on the basketball team. Then, following in his father's footsteps, he went on to play at Georgetown. Rick Elrod, who was the school's highest NBA draft pick, was inducted into the college's athletics hall of fame in 2005.

Stephen Elrod played junior varsity for one year and varsity for three, Osborne said. He was one of three players from Georgetown to be named Mid-South Academic All-Conference Team in 2007.

"Stephen was a hard worker, he was an encourager and he always gave his best in practice and he was always positive with his teammates," Osborne said. "He was a guy that was invaluable to your team with his work ethic and his attitude – and if you leave him open he'll knock it down."
After graduation, Stephen moved home so he could save money, his father said.

On Tuesday morning Stephen was on his way to work at Griffin Industries in Cold Spring where he was in the management training program. His father also works at the company and was already at work when the accident occurred.

Stephen Elrod's truck struck the trailer of a semi that had pulled onto the AA from Ivor Road about 7 a.m., said Campbell County Lt. Col. Todd Straman. "There was absolutely no visibility," he said. "The AA, the way it follows that valley, there is horrible fog sometimes."
The pickup truck was wedged under the semi. Moments after Elrod's truck hit the semi, another pickup also hit the truck. The driver of the other truck was not injured. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Donald Graessley, of Westfield, Wis., was not injured. The accident is still under investigation and no charges have been filed, Straman said.

"The AA is such a dangerous highway," Rick Elrod said. "This particular location has been the site of many accidents." Rick Elrod had driven the same route that morning. "This truck should have waited," he said. "The truck certainly couldn't see, he just took too big of a chance and my son was in the wrong place and wrong split second of time."
When Stephen Elrod died Tuesday, more than 100 family and friends had gathered at University Hospital. Stephen Elrod was an organ donor and his organs went to several people, his father said. Stephen Elrod is also survived by his mother, Judy, and brother Jon, 21, who also plays basketball at Georgetown, where he will be a senior. In 1987, Stephen Elrod's younger brother Nicholas died just days after birth. "When Nicholas died, we could come home and hug Stephen, and now that Stephen's gone we can come home and hug Jon," Rick Elrod said. "I think God's done with us right now. His plan's in place and there ain't no more to hug."
A service will be held at 2 p.m. today at Plum Creek Christian Church in Butler.

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