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Loss of high school students felt throughout Fulton Co. community

Warfordsburg area residents deal with deaths of Destiny Knable and Matt Weller

September 28, 2010|By DANA BROWN
  • Destiny Knable
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WARFORDSBURG, Pa. -- Grief counseling for Southern Fulton Junior/Senior High school students continued Tuesday, the day after two of their fellow students died in an automobile accident.

Sophomore Destiny Knable, 15, and senior Matt Weller, 17, died Monday morning when the 1997 Saturn in which they were riding on U.S. 522 near White Oak Hollow Road went off the road and struck a utility pole and a tree, according to school officials and Pennsylvania State Police.

A counselor with Adams-Hanover Counseling Services, who would not give her name, said the students were expressing their grief through music, by writing messages on a banner and by crying.

"I think the kids are coping as well as can be expected," the counselor said. "Because this is such a tight-knit community, they are leaning on each other."

The students were able to leave their classrooms as needed to go to the auditorium, where several counseling professionals were available to listen if the students needed to talk, she said.

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Grief counseling also was available to teachers and other school employees.

Students focused on making a large banner to give to Matt's and Destiny's parents, she said.

"It's a way for them to grieve," she said. "They don't have a lot of words."

Several students asked to pray, she said.

Pastors from at least four area churches were available for students, she said.

Wavy Kirk, president of the Needmore (Pa.) Volunteer Fire Co., said the loss of Destiny and Matt was being felt throughout the community, and especially at the fire department, where Destiny was a junior member for the past three years.

"It's hurting the community a lot to lose two so young," Kirk said. "It hits twice."

Kirk said Destiny was "a fun-loving girl" who was "loved by all."

"If you ever met her, you would never forget her," she said.

Kirk said Matt was "always pleasant."

She said the two were dating.

"They were inseparable," Kirk said. "Wherever one was, there was the other."

Members of the fire company were among the first responders to the scene of the accident and many were having a difficult time because they knew the victims, Kirk said.

"It's devastating to go up on a call, especially when it's one of your own," she said. "It's affecting a lot of us."

Kirk said members of the community were pulling together, supporting one another and relying on their faith to help them deal with the tragedy.

"Everybody stands together," she said. "With the good Lord above, He will help us through it. He's got another angel up there -- two angels, actually."

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