NEW MADISON – A community continues to mourn after the untimely death of one of their own. On Wednesday evening, over 200 friends, family and community members gathered at the Tri-Village High School football stadium to give comfort to one another and to remember the life and impact Austin Bruner made. The 18-year-old Tri-Village High School graduate succumbed to injuries suffered in a car crash on Tuesday morning in Hamilton County.
Although Bruner was a top athlete in football and track at the school, it wasn’t his accomplishments on the field or on the track that was remembered. Most remembered him as a friend. There were certainly plenty of tears shed as they thought about the loss, but there were also smiles as they remembered what Bruner meant to them. Banners filled with his football and track pictures showcased the young man’s infectious smile.
At exactly 9 p.m., this year’s football team led mourners to the 50-yard line of the football field. Tri-Village High School Principal Lee Morris said, “We could have very easily used our stands, but in the time that I was here, when Austin Bruner was here, I never saw him sit in the stands. I only saw him on the football field and I only saw him on the track. We thought it would be appropriate that we went to a sacred acre that he enjoyed.”
Morris commented on the number of people in attendance and called it “incredible.” He said, “Obviously we’re all sad by the sudden loss of our friend, recent graduate, Tri-Village student Austin Bruner. Yesterday in conversation with Austin’s family, they shared with me how much he loved Tri-Village and this community. And with this crowd that stands here right now, it’s very evident how much Patriot Nation loved Austin Bruner.”
He shared, “We constantly seek to understand why bad things happen to good people and the only overriding conclusion I can come to is our human understanding is never going to bring us peace. As human beings we have a voracious appetite to figure things out in order to gain a sense of mastery over our lives. The world presents us with endless sets of problems and as soon as we master one set another set pops up and gives us a new challenge. The relief that we sometimes find when solving something is very short lived.”
Retired Pastor Carol Duffield said she spent a lot of time with Austin and his family, but she was instructed by the family not to say she was sorry. “Austin was a believer,” she said. She shared the verse John 3:16 and said, “That is the hope we hold onto this night. As hard as it is, Austin is okay.”
In his prayer, New Madison United Methodist Church Pastor David Richey said there was “excitement in knowing You hold Austin closer to You.” He prayed that God would help those who knew Austin to “understand to let go and walk with heads held high, representing him in You.
An emotional Morris concluded, “Austin we love you and miss you already.”
A memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, at Tri-Village High School gymnasium in New Madison with Pastor David Richey officiating.
Guests may visit with Austin’s family on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019 from 2-7 p.m. at the school gymnasium.
Memorial contributions may be given to the Austin Bruner Scholarship Memorial Fund. Donations can be made at any Farmer State Bank.