For Curt: friends and family gather to celebrate life of CHS student Curt Wilson


Guests were asked to sign a “CW” for Curt’s mother, Ashley Wilson./ W.C. Mann

CULLMAN – On Sunday afternoon, the Cullman Elks Lodge was the site of a celebration of the life of Curt Wilson, a Cullman High School student who lost his life as a result of a tragic automobile wreck on May 7.  Mother Ashley Wilson’s family and friends, supporters and Curt’s CHS classmates and teammates filled the lodge hall for an intentionally joyful event, though a few inevitable tears would be shed.

“Curt can’t be forgotten,” said family friend and event host Emily Hayes.  “The light that he brought into so many people’s lives in his short time here needs to be celebrated.  The funeral was a somber, reflective time, as it should have been; but today what we wanted to do was get everyone together and celebrate our memories of Curt- how he touched our lives.  That’s how we keep him alive in our hearts; when you speak his name, when you share a funny story about him or a tender moment, he’s still here.

“I don’t want people to forget Curt, and I don’t want people to forget his family.  His family has been like a second family to me since I was his age.  They’ve been very kind and very generous to me in my life.  The whole family is going to need the support of the community, not just today but in the days coming.  You never get over the loss of a child.  These people will need your prayers for a very long time.

“I also feel that, knowing what Ashley’s gone through with her injuries as well, and how that’s affected her work- bills don’t stop- she should be able to have the time to heal, not only physically, but to help her heart heal.  And she should be able to mourn Curt without worrying about financial responsibilities.  If we can lessen that burden through the event today, then we’ve done what we intended to do.”

Money raised at the event will go into the Curt Wilson Memorial Fund to assist Ashley Wilson with the cost of recovery from her own injuries suffered in the crash that took her son’s life.

Local businesses, and some from as far away as Birmingham, donated goods and services to be raffled off to guests.  Prizes ranged from T-shirts and free pizzas to a three-day Pigeon Forge vacation.  Hosts started the event at with a roll of 1,000 tickets to sell; well before the first drawing took place an hour later, they were completely sold out and scrambling to find more.  They did find more tickets, and people continued lining up to buy their chances.  Local providers also donated beverages and hot food that were sold to add to the fund.

Stephanie Giancatarino, a friend of Ashley Wilson, helped host the event.  She shared, “Ashley is one of my best friends; she’s like a sister to me.  I didn’t know Curt, but I’d do anything to stand by her.  She’s a very good person.  God wants us to stand up for our family and our friends; He wants us to be there for everybody.  I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Ashley Wilson sat down with The Tribune for a few minutes.  She suffered fractures in her knee and hand in the accident that claimed her son, but is making good progress in recovery.  She expressed deep gratitude to a circle of family, friends and even strangers who have surrounded her with support in the last few weeks.

Wilson described, “Amazing, godly, supporting, loving, generous people that are with me.  I’m blown away by the support of everyone in the community, even people I don’t know.  It’s very humbling, and I’m so very grateful for everyone.  Thank you to everyone.  And ‘thank you’ is really not enough.  I don’t know how to express my gratitude.”

Of her son, Wilson shared, “Curt was absolutely amazing!  He was the most loving, caring, happy child, and I’m not just saying it because he’s my child.  He was.  He was special.  He would never leave a room until you were laughing or smiling; it was just his character.  He could walk into the room to ask me what was for dinner, and he would stand at the doorway until I would smile back at him.

“You could be having the worst day ever, and Curt would make it the brightest.  In his own little way, he would turn any day into an amazing day.  He just wanted everybody to be happy.  He loved life.”

“His smile was the most perfect smile,” said Hayes, “sweet, genuine, caring; it spoke a lot about him and his character.  At 15 years old, he was already a great human being.  Lord knows what he could have done, but we’ll carry on and do good things in his name.”

The Curt Wilson Memorial Fund was established at Traditions Bank.  Contributions can be made at any branch office.

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