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Sledding crash victim called sweet-spirited

February 16, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. - Amanda K. Bowders was remembered Thursday as a sweet-spirited young woman whose smile could "light up a room."

The 19-year-old Waynesboro resident died Wednesday night as the result of a sledding accident at Hooverville Elementary School on Pa. 16 east of town.

Emergency workers who responded to the call at 9:34 p.m. said they found Bowders unconscious after her sled hit a pole that supports playground equipment.

Washington Township police provided first aid until emergency medical technicians arrived and took Bowders to Waynesboro Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 10:09 p.m.

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An autopsy will be performed today at Lehigh Valley Medical Center in Allentown, Pa., Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner said.

"She just had a smile that would light up a room. More than anything, her love for Christ was evident by the love she had for everyone else," Alex Wooldridge, youth pastor at Hagerstown's Cutting Edge Ministries, said Thursday.

The church mourned the 2006 Waynesboro Area Senior High School graduate - whom congregants called intelligent, caring, precious and sweet-spirited - while taking solace in knowing her place in heaven.

"I know, without a doubt, that she's there right now. She was looking forward to spending time with God," Brenda Wooldridge said.

Bowders used music, dance and drama to express her love for the Lord and had been working with the church's children on an upcoming skit.

"My daughter has an imaginary sister, and her name is Amanda. I know that she got it from her," praise team leader Michelle Dawson said.

A love of children is one thing Bowders shared with her boyfriend, Justin Harris of Hagerstown. The pair also enjoyed music, movies and the comfort of having a trusted confidante.

"I'm just going to miss her, hearing her voice and seeing her smile," Harris said.

Harris said all his memories of Bowders are positive ones because she never had a negative thing to say.

"She took adversity and joy very well. She was one of those people that no one had a bad word for," Waynesboro Area Senior High School Band Director Pat McNamee said.

Bowders, of 12078 Blue Mountain Ave., participated in school bands, made good choices and had a set of high morals, McNamee said. The bass clarinet player was known to be a strong leader and was a "mother hen" to a group of freshmen in marching band her senior year, he said.

"She was a very well thought-of student," Waynesboro Area School District Superintendent Barry Dallara said.

Bowders was enrolled in the church's Life Christian University, where she attended classes with Esther Brinton, wife of senior pastor Clair S. Brinton III.

"We were very blessed by her beautiful smile every time she walked in the door. ... She just radiated with a smile. I don't think I've ever seen her without it," Esther Brinton said, speaking for both herself and her husband.

Brenda Wooldridge said Bowders was planning for missions trips.

"She wanted to save the whole world and make everything better for everyone," Brenda Wooldridge said.

The Brintons remembered Bowders' musical and dramatic talents as well as her work with the Raven House Food Center. Bowders decorated for, prepared and served Thanksgiving dinner for Raven House recipients last year.

"She just loved to give you a hug and tell you how much she loved you," Brinton said.

"Amanda was the type of person you fell in love with as soon as you met her," Brenda Wooldridge said.

The National Safety Council, a nonprofit public service organization, estimates that 33,000 sledding injuries send people to hospital emergency rooms annually. Conner couldn't remember a fatal sledding accident in his 19 years with the coroner's office.

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