More than two years have passed since Storm, a senior at Portsmouth High School, died from an accidental shooting by a close friend who was showing him his new bow and arrow.
The two 17-year-olds were at the friend’s house on Franklin Avenue on Nov. 18, 2008, taking a break between college prep classes at Shawnee State University, when the quick release on the compound bow either malfunctioned or was accidently hit, sending the arrow into Storm’s chest.
The accident happened about 9 a.m. Emergency medical workers at Southern Ohio Medical Center worked to save Storm’s life, a process that involved transfusions of more than 40 pints of blood. He died about 11 a.m. Two families and a community grieved.
“He was a model young person, not a perfect young person, but a model young person who really enjoyed serving other people,” said Rick Clark, associate pastor at Christ’s Community Church in Portsmouth, where Storm and family members worshiped. “That was one of the main character qualities of his life, and if he was here today he would tell you that it was all prompted by his faith in Christ.”
Lynn Bratchett, his mother, said her son “would be pleased with something like this (the second annual memorial blood drive in his name). He was real active in church, playing guitar and singing. He would go every year to a missionary work camp somewhere.
“To me, this is like Storm still being able to do this missionary work. The gifts of blood in his name will touch homes and people’s lives.”
He was also a wide receiver and a defensive back on the high school football team, as well as a high honors student, taking college-level classes while still in high school.
His mother said he had talked of enrolling in ministerial studies at Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, Ky.
The “Memorial Blood Drive in Honor of Storm Bratchett” is scheduled for noon to 7 p.m. March 3 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 4 at Christ’s Community Church, 25th Street and Thomas Avenue. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments can be made by calling (740) 353-1633 or at redcrossblood.org.
March 4 would have been Storm’s 20th birthday.
Portsmouth High School, which typically holds a closed blood drive for students and faculty, is instead partnering with the church so everyone can give there on those two days.
“If we get 300 pints, then we will be able to give three $500 scholarships in Storm’s name,” Bratchett said.
Clark said the goal has been set at 250 pints.
“Last year, we had a goal of 200 and we collected 199,” Clark said. “This year, because of the harsh winter keeping people from turning out to drives, the Red Cross coffers are really low. We’re hoping to have a substantial contribution.
Officials at American Red Cross headquarters in Huntington, W.Va., said Storm’s family and friends have urged those who knew him to donate blood.
Officials asked those who wish to donate blood to schedule an appointment.
Most healthy individuals who are at least 17 years old, or 16 with signed parental consent, and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds are eligible to donate blood. Individuals 18 years of age or younger must also meet specific height and weight requirements.
Clark said having a blood drive in Storm’s name was a perfect way to honor his memory.
“People who donate blood are giving of themselves to help others, and that describes what Storm was in a nutshell,” Clark said.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236, or spiatt@ heartlandpublications.com.