Ian Michael McFate, my son, was hit by a west-bound car while he was headed north, running the home leg of a cross country practice on the afternoon of October 1st, 2012. He was 13 years old, an eigth grader at STC Middle School. His body came to rest not far from the posted coordinates of this cache. Ian never regained consciousness and died 22 hours after the accident at 3 PM on October 2nd.
The driver of the vehicle was a man I have never met, but I think of him and his family every day, as I'm sure he thinks of Ian, and of us. I wish him all the best and pray that we can all find peace and joy in our lives again.
I was not at the accident scene, and am thankful I did not witness it. The details are all rather sketchy but I am thankfull too for that. One of the mysteries I still wonder about... On the day of the accident I had plans to take my 'alternate' route home from work to make a stop at the Tama-Toledo Country Club. This alternate route would have taken me past this very spot at about the time the accident occurred. But on that Monday I remained at work a few minutes longer than normal and subsequently decided to go directly home with intent to walk to the Country Club later that evening. I took my 'usual' route home to save a little time. The ambulance carrying Ian left the scene of the accident just minutes before I pulled in the driveway of my home about a mile from this spot.
The authorities who investigated the accident told me that the driver of the vehicle had just picked his kids up from daycare and was heading home with them in the back seat. The posted speed limit here is 25 MPH, but it transitions to 45 MPH not far to the west. The driver of the car accelerated earlier than he should have, and I'm told that some papers resting in the passenger seat fell to the floor, and he glanced down to see that they were okay. He never saw Ian until the impact.
A few weeks after the accident my wife and I were discussing plans for the memorial funds that countless friends, and complete strangers, donated in Ian's memory. I wanted to find a way to help prevent this from ever happening again, so I searched for, and for a time considered launching, an organization or foundation aimed at educating drivers and pedestrians about the dangers of distracted driving. The working title of that project was "I's Up" because it reminded me that Ian's Up above watching over us, and that all of us here on Earth need to keep our Eyes Up no matter if we are driving, resting, walking, running, bicycling, geocaching, or doing anything that might put us, or others, in harm's way. It didn't take much effort on my part to realize that distracted driving has taken many lives, and touched many, many more. I recommend everyone reading this have a look at http://EndDD.org.
I've had something in mind for this location for awhile now. Last Sunday I made plans to attend a geocaching event in Mt. Pleasant, IA. I also made plans to meet a friend and fellow geocacher along the way, and had my route all laid out. I rarely remember my dreams, but I do recall that last Sunday, on Father's Day, I woke up earlier than planned in the midst of a dream, out geocaching with Ian, the better half of what he called "Team Wrecking Crew". I couldn't get back to sleep so I decided to start my trip early, and because of that change I made some unplanned stops in Belle Plaine. There, quite by chance (or was it?) I saw a roadside memorial and was pleased to see a cache listed there. Finding "A cache for Justin" (http://coord.info/GC4VA0Y) by chance, on Father's Day, after waking up from a dream about Ian... all of that compounded to provde the inspiration for completing this listing. Thank you to Cheetoman79 for the cache and the inspiration.
While you hunt for this cache, or any other, please be acutely aware of your surroundings. Please don't attempt to navigate or manipulate your GPS, or any device, while driving; leave that to your passengers or just carefully pull over and act responsibly. The same rules should apply while you are on-foot; you should never blindly follow your GPS.
Always remember,I's Up.