NIXA, Mo Family is something Chance and Sherry Potts don't ever take for granted. They have four sons and each one has his own personality and interests.
Though a city boy from Nixa, their son Landon fell in love with the rodeo. "He was a true cowboy. I don't know where he got it. It wasn't from me. I grew up in an apartment by Glendale High School, so I knew nothing about roping or horses or anything," explained Chance Potts.
Landon was hooked after a dude ranch trip at age 11. When he returned home, a family friend and cowboy gave him a 5 gallon bucket and a rope. "Landon learned how to rope that bucket just like every single time he threw it. The next thing you know, he's roping dummies and then he's on a horse and just a natural," his dad recalled.
Every chance he got, Landon shared his passion with his friends. The night before Thanksgiving in 2014 he and his buddies had been practicing their roping before going for a drive. Four of the eight never made it home. Landon's pickup ran off a dangerous curve near Highlandville and slammed into a tree.
"I don't think it's something I'll ever get over. I just learn to I don't know manage it, life with it, because everyday it's just right there--everyday," Sherry Potts said.
Landon was just 17.
To help cope with the unimaginable, Sherry and Chance turned to the Lost and Found Grief Center in Springfield. "You're in a club that nobody wants to be in and you can relate to each other and support one another," Sherri explained.
Every year, Lost and Found helps more than a thousand children and adults who are grappling with losing a loved one. The center serves more than 23 counties in Southwest Missouri.
The Potts are speaking out before the agency holds its annual memorial event this week in the hopes that others might seek help if they too are grieving.
While every day is struggle, they say they are managing--with support. "We choose to focus on being thankful for the 17 years we had versus what we don't have."
Anyone can attend Lost and Found's 7th annual Memorial Event & 5K Run/ 1 Mile Walk. It's Thursday, May 26th at Jordan Valley Park.
Starting at 5:30 pm, silk tulips can be purchased and placed in a dedication garden at the park. At 6:15 pm there will be a Dedication Garden Program; the run and walk starts at 7 pm.
All the proceeds benefit Lost and Found Grief Center in Springfield.