In Memoriam: Eunjey Cho

Dear JVC Northwest community,

JVC Northwest staff are deeply saddened to share that recent FJV AmeriCorps member Eunjey Cho (Spokane ’12-13) passed away yesterday, September 18, 2013, in a cycling accident.

He and fellow FJV John McGuin (Spokane ’12-13) were cycling across the country, having left Spokane at the end of their service year, and were traveling to Eunjey’s hometown in New Jersey when Eunjey was struck by a car on their route through Colorado.

Eunjey

JVs and staff remember Eunjey as an individual full of life – beloved by all who knew him. While serving as a JV in Spokane, he quickly became known for his generosity, his gentleness, and his keen sense of humor.  As part of their trek across the country, Eunjey and John raised money to support JVC Northwest.

We are extremely saddened by this tragic loss, and ask for your kind thoughts and prayers for Eunjey and his family and friends, John, and all those who were near and dear to Eunjey.

We will update our blog with details regarding service arrangements when we receive them. We encourage you to check back there for further information. We invite you to post your own memories and stories of Eunjey here or on the JVC Northwest facebook page.

Eunjey was a wonderful person, and he will be greatly missed. We are grateful for the JVC Northwest community as we gather together to grieve and celebrate Eunjey’s life.

Peace,

JVC Northwest Staff

Thoughts on In Memoriam: Eunjey Cho

  1. My thoughts and prayers are with Eunjey and his family. May he rest in peace.

  2. We were so saddened to hear of such a profound lost and donated to his fundraising in his memory, as I hope others will.

  3. My daughter, Sarah McKay (Missoula ’12-’13, Spokane ’13-’14) called me to tell me the deeply sad news of Eunjey’s untimely death. I told her that the JVC is also a family, an ever growing family, that has lost one of its members. My heart goes out, mostly, to his parents and relatives who loved him dearly. But there are those who lived, worked, shared, and laughed with Eunjey in the JVC who will also be in great need of comfort. If we are near one, let us wrap them in a compassionate embrace.It is a blessing that the JVC continues to attract such exceptional young men and women to its mission of living simply and being ruined for life. It is, therefore, all the more heartbreaking when we lose one so exceptional.

  4. Members of the Grand Junction cycling community have placed a ghost bike near the location of the wreck. Our hope is that this will serve as a memorial to honor Eunjey Cho and a reminder to all who pass by of the vulnerability of cyclists and the fragility of life. There’s a photo of the ghost bike here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grand-Junction-Colorado-Road-Cycling-Routes/169979643016667

    If there’s anything that those of us in Grand Junction can do to help please feel free to contact us through my email, velocartographer@gmail.com.

    John Hodge

    • John,
      As the mother of Eunjey’s cycling companion who was on this journey with him, and who witnessed this horrible accident, I am moved and so appreciate the memorial to Eunjey and the message it carries.
      Thank You so Much
      Andrea McGuin

  5. As a fellow cyclist and a resident of Mesa County, Colorado, I was so saddened to hear of this tragedy. The cycling community here was stunned by the news.

    Please know that he is in the thoughts and hearts of cyclists here, too.

    Rest in peace, Eunjey.

  6. Our prayers are with Eunjey and his family. Heartbreaking news.

  7. Eunjay’s life, which, in our feeble minds, should have been longer, was a gift from God and a true reflection of God’s love for us. If we can’t believe this, his dying would completely suffocate us with grief. As we thank God for all the wonderful people and things in His creation, we should take comfort in knowing Eunjay is up there with the most magnificent of God’s gifts. In my weaker moments I still feel like it’s Heaven 1, Earth 0.
    Jerry

  8. Eunjey had a special gift for working with people who were in desperate circumstances and often feeling overwhelmed. He was compassionate and always took the time to get to know each person, showing them dignity and respect. His calm presence was reassuring and honoring. I will miss his sense of humor and beautiful spirit.

  9. I had the privilege of serving as Eunjey’s supervisor during his year as a Jesuit Volunteer in Spokane. In addition to being a former JV myself (Nome, 89-91), my connection to this compassionate and serenely joyful young man was on a daily basis. My daily routine is now full of reminders of him. I even have a small notebook on my nightstand at home that he gave me when he came back from a trip to South Korea with his mother last October. He had such a great community year in Spokane – they really seemed to come together as a community and support one another. I take some small consolation in knowing he enjoyed many adventures during what was his last year. Thank you to John Hodge and the Grand Junction community for the ghost bike. Thank you to all those who remember him. Please do what you can to keep his remarkable spirit alive. We were so fortunate to have Mass with Bishop Skylstad (who commissioned many years of JVs into service from Camp Adams in late 80s) yesterday, shortly after we learned of the accident and he reminded us that our relationship has not ended, but changed. Please remember John McGuin in your prayers – he was unhurt in the accident but endured the aftermath.

  10. For the Warmshowers.org community of touring cyclists, which Eunjey was a member of, I offer our condolences. We are all so vulnerable on the road, and of course our life is far more fragile than we know. We wish you well, Eunjey and your family.

  11. My husband and I want to extend our heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of Eunjey and send our caring thoughts to his biking companion, John. We were traveling from Sandpoint, Idaho to Colorado when our paths crossed tragically at the scene of the accident. My husband who has EMT experience gave CPR to Eunjey and I, along with other travelers, tried to comfort John. My husband and I were so saddened to read online the next day that Eunjey did not survive. We were so hopeful and as I read more about him, I realize what a wonderful young man he was and what a tragic loss this is to the world. John, and everyone who loved Eunjey, you are in our prayers. – Jeanine Asche

  12. As I traveled from Delta to Grand Junction that cloudy, windy afternoon, I witnessed the accident that took Mr. Cho from us. As I was driving , I saw John and Eunjey, against a heavy headwind, pedaling up a fairly steep grade. My thoughts praised their efforts and strength to be on their journey. As I drew neared I saw the vehicle crossing over the white line separating the roadway from the wide paved shoulder where they were riding. It was such an unbelievably helpless feeling to witness this tragedy unfold. I immediately called the 911 dispatch and reported the event and crossed back over the highway to help. Other travelers also stopped to assist, some with EMT training who were instantly at Eunjeys’ side. As the paramedics were working on Eunjey, I spent a few very heartbreaking moments with John McGuin, trying to give him any comfort, no matter how small. I will never forget the sorrow and panic in his beautiful blue eyes as he told me his and Eunjeys names and where they were traveling from. I was, and am, still deeply saddened by this most tragic accident, and pray for everyone involved. So many lives have been forever affected. And to John and Eunjeys family and their friends, I wanted to extend my deepest sympathies.
    Darrel McKay

  13. From Seattle, we send love, support, prayers, and consolation.
    Very sad to hear of Eunjey’s terrible death.
    Very sad to read of a driver not being sufficiently careful to prevent this terrible crash (not accident).
    Ideally all drivers would constantly drive as if their loved ones were the ones bicycling or walking or driving on the same road.
    We’re all children of God.

  14. My husband and I were just behind Tonie Rosales’s car seeing her veer off the road and hit Eunjey. We were the 1st on the scene and even though some time has passed, I can’t forget the helplessness and horror of that day and especially trying to comfort his friend, John. Tonie forever changed the lives of many people that day, including ours. I pray for Eunjey’s family as well as John and those that had to see what we all did.

  15. I have went by this spot where this accident happen several times. I have stopped and prayed for this young man and his family. I no longer stop there and the bike is gone but as long as I live I will be thinking of him. This horrible accident has taken this wonderful young man away from his family way to soon. I pray for them every day but I also pray for the young woman that hit him. She has lost her life too as well as her two little baby boys and her family. God bless all of us and please help us get through this.

  16. As I sit here in my office that was Eunjey Cho’s, I cannot but think of him. My office is a brave and safe space. I feel his presence and spirit in this office. Now, I never got to meet the young man. However, I have spoken with many people who knew him and his warm, loving, gentle, generous, and humorous spirit. He was kind, caring, and loving as himself, nothing more and nothing less. He is in my thoughts and prayers. I love him and miss him a whole lot. His family, friends, and loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers as we come upon the two year anniversary of his tragic death. I feel as though he is with me, walking right alongside me to enlighten, strengthen, support, and encourage me to do my best and to be my best in the 8 to 10 hours of the day.

  17. You are in my thoughts and prayers today Eunjey Cho on this very warm, hot summer day in Spokane, Washington. I have the same beautiful corner office that you had that looks out to a pillar, the street, and the people, cars, and scenery going by as people drive up and down the south hill. I am enjoying the comfort of today. I took my sandals off like Eunjey would to let my feet breathe. I am drinking plenty of fluids. My receptionist/secretary Tiffany Smalley made me kind of a slushie or snow cone in a plastic cup or glass. It is nice and refreshing to drink. I have been parched these last few days with the heat wave here in Spokane. It has been slow here at the office the past few days. The plaque of Eunjey Cho hangs well in my office. I feel his presence. The Never Give Up quote that he put up still remains in my office. It is photographed quite often. My How to Face the Storms of Life prayer by St. Francis De Sales is also photographed a lot by my clients. I have seen some walk-ins and appointments this month for rent, utilities, and transportation. The service and work of being a Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest AmeriCorps Volunteer member for two years is slowing down. I am able to sit with my thoughts and feelings as I discern what is next for me in life. I value weighing life choices and decisions using the pros and cons method. Also, I find it helpful to think in terms of consolation and desolation. Last week, I found myself breaking down several times as I wrote the traditional introductory letter to the new and incoming Jesuit Volunteer Mark Espina from Long Island, New York. I read the words that Eunjey Cho wrote to Bridget or Bridgett Kratz in his introductory letter. I wept, literally wept for several minutes, which felt like hours. I was able to compose and gather myself once again. I am going to live and work here in Spokane, Washington or in Washington state as a Certified Peer Counselor or Peer Support Specialist. As I leave, I have a mixture of surprise and intrigue to gladness and happiness to nervousness and anxiety to joy to sadness. As I leave, I think it is important that I have a mixture of thoughts and feelings. For me, it means that the past two years of my life have had meaning and purpose. I have heard and held humbling and heart-breaking stories. I have had to be patient, present, an open and deep listener, I have had to check my privilege and prejudice (s) at the door, and I have had to see people and the world as a young blind guy with the heart. I challenge those who are reading this to be open, patient, a deep listener, to see with and from the heart, to be compassionate, to be empathetic, and to help serve with and for others to help them find their very own remarkable, special, and unique personal freedom. I hope that I can be as good of a person, friend, and young man as Eunjey Cho was during his short life. He walked with and accompanied others through the storms of life. He met people where they are in life and he focused on the thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I never met him, yet I have read and heard a lot about him. I miss him very much. I hope to get to meet him some day in Heaven and in the after life.

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