Notes to Parents


  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Have you ever thought about the number of people’s lives you have touched through Clayton’s Lesson? I promise you that Thursday your message did not end in that gym. Kids and teachers hearts were touched, not only from your tragedy but by what is going on in their own homes. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking time out of your busy life to come to Bowers Elementary. One teacher told me she cried until she went to bed. As for myself, the last thing I remember that night was tears running out of the corner of my eyes. God is using you in such a powerful way! I’m proud to call you my friend!


I created a Memorial MySpace in honor of one of my friends who recently passed away. Since I started it, it has grown quite a bit. I ultimately want the site to become an awareness site along with a memorial site. I hope you don’t mind that I added a link to Clayton’s website on MySpace. I would love to add Clayton and his story to the memorial page. If you could, please email me when you get a chance.
Thank you,


My Uncle does drugs and it scares me because I still love him very much even though he does bad things. I hope that he will start realizing that drugs are bad for him and can take his life. He needs to stop using them. I saw you at my school today and just wanted you to know that you are not alone. And, to say sorry for what happened to you. I am 12 years old and just had to get this off my chest.
Thank you for letting me share this with you.


My brother was a friend of Clayton’s and I am really sorry for your family. I came to this website because you came to my school today and your speech was so sad. Again, I am very sorry for your family for having to go through the loss of Clayton. Just remember he is having a great time with God and he is dancing as a beautiful angel right now. I wish you the best of luck even though Clayton has been dead for 6 years now.


I know it’s been a while since this has all happened, and I’m sure it’s still a struggle at times to stay strong. My sister went to Oliver Springs whenever Clayton’s death occurred and that is now where I attend. I feel like our school is nothing like it used to be. I just looked at the pictures of special events and I think it would be neat, and if you had time to come back to OSHS and speak to the students now-a-days. I know it would be hard but it’s just a suggestion. I feel like our school is full of a lot of careless people and ones that are into drugs. I personally had a friend that got to hanging out with the wrong group and I got her out of it, I am thankful. Although I personally didn’t know Clayton or anything, I feel like it could be a good thing for our school and our community to remember when this happened in 2003. Thanks for taking time to read this.


Hi Donna,
I miss the C.A.M.P. program and I also miss you. I can’t believe that the C.A.M.P. thing has been going on for this long. I hope to be able to visit and see everyone but I moved and no longer live in Tennessee. I am going to be a junior in high school and then one more year and I will be a senior and then on my way to college. I miss you and I know you miss Clayton. You have touched a lot of people’s hearts with the C.A.M.P. program and we all thank you for that. I will talk with you soon.


Dear Donna,
I was thinking about Clayton late at work and decided to visit his website. I have a friend that just lost his daughter. It just reemphasized what a special young boy Clayton was. This could happen to anyone. I am still so very sorry.
Take care always,


Hi Donna,
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker working with a couple of alternative schools in our community. I work through a grant that helps educate kids about drugs. I am always looking for new ways to get their attention, and personal stories seem to work well, I am curious if you ever go out to classrooms and talk about Clayton and what happened. Please call me if you are interested and able to speak. This webpage is a powerful tribute to Clayton and his memory.


I just wanted to tell you I still miss Clayton like crazy. He became like a brother to me when he was coming over to my house all the time when he was in the 8th grade and part of his freshman year….It’s going on five years now and it seems like it was just yesterday. I still can’t believe that it happened. I’m not sure if you will still get this but I thought I would try anyway.


Do you remember me? Clayton and I were great friends in Elementary School. It has taken me this long to contact you. I came to the funeral after church that day, however, you were gone to the grave site already. I love you and your family and I will always remember Clayton! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you.


I have to say that this website will wake teens up. I know for sure that it made me stop doing drugs. I was using drugs and my mother printed this off for me and when I read it I took a big turn in my life!!


Mrs. Forstrom
I don’t know if you will remember my name, nut I was the young man that came with Brother Mike Jenkins to OSHS earlier this year. Since that time, I have decided to start speaking with teens, High School and Middle School, on alcohol addiction. It’s something I went through and in return want to share with them with the hopes they don’t make the mistakes I did. So, I say this to ask you if you have any further resources that would allow me to view statistics and any other info as well as any literature I could get to hand out to students that I am blessed to speak with. Thank you for reading this and I hope to hear back from you soon.


Although your ordeal was horrible, I thank you for this website. I can see you loved your son very much. I had a friend who recently overdosed; I was the one to rush him to the emergency room. I found your site and showed it to him once he was out of the hospital. He has been doing much better and attending counseling. I thank you for having the courage to allow your heartbreak to be someone else’s chance for a wakeup call. Thank you very much, for the life of my friend.


Hey Donna,
I just wanted to thank you for coming to my school. I wanted to let you know that I know how it feels to lose someone. I lost my brother to a house fire. When you were giving your speech I thought it was just going to be another speech that someone was going to give us about how students shouldn’t use drugs and stuff. But, when you talked about Clayton and how he made good grades and everything, it seemed unreal. You wouldn’t really think about a guy like Clayton, being so popular and all, doing drugs and things like that. But I guess everyone has their own little problems. After you gave your speech and showed the pictures and started to cry, it made me want to cry because I thought about my brother. It made my friends cry also. Again, I wanted to thank you for everything. And you are not alone. I am a Christian and I believe everything happens for a reason.


Just wanted to let you know I enjoyed meeting you at the Positive Peer Pressure dinner the other night and was sorry to not have a chance to say goodbye. Thanks for your hard work there and all you are doing for the kids there in your area. I’m inspired by how you’ve been able to turn a tragedy into such an amazingly positive thing. I checked out you website and was really touched by it. Clayton was obviously a special kid and his legacy is definitely living on. God bless and keep you, and keep doing what you’re doing.


Mrs. Forstrom,
Today my child had the D.A.R.E. Graduation at Walnut Hill Elementary School. You spoke to the kids and I was in tears. I want to thank you for what you are doing because I know it is hard and I hope to never walk in your footsteps. Thank you for what you are doing and keep up the good work. You are in my thoughts and prayers. You are helping more than the kids you speak to.


Thanks for coming to Oliver Springs this morning. Stay in touch with me. You are an incredible woman. You are as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. Love ya and God Bless.


I really enjoyed walking with you all in the Oliver Springs parade. It really touched me and I know that I really don’t want to do drugs. I am so glad that there is a website so that people can see what all happened. And, hopefully, they won’t do drugs because they now know what could happen. I just wanted to take time to say thank you and God Bless You all!!


I went to the Christmas parade and got the pamphlet that had this story on it. I got bored at school and decided to visit the website because one of my friends took pills from someone today. She doesn’t know that I know she got them. I know she’s not like an addict or anything, but like in Clayton’s story it can happen to anyone. What should I do?


Hi. I just wanted to let you know that I use Clayton’s Lesson on a regular basis in my classroom at Oneida High School to preach drug prevention. Thanks for all the time and hard work in putting together this website.


Mrs. Forstrom
I saw your memorial in the paper today. I went to the website and was so moved by this emotional testimony. As a mother of three teenagers, I want to thank you for Clayton’s Lesson and I will be sharing it with my kids. God Bless you and your family. The most wonderful part of Clayton was/is his salvation with the Lord and you all have the peace of knowing he is with our Lord and Savior.


I have a friend at my school that drinks a lot and I’m really worried about him. His parents know that he does this and they do nothing about it. It affects the way he acts now and he gets meaner every week. He needs help, and I don’t know what to do. He doesn’t listen to me very well either. I can’t sit back and watch him slowly kill himself. What should I do?


To whom it may concern,
Clayton’s story has been repeated millions of times since the 1960’s. We experienced somewhat less a tragedy with two boys. They detoured from reality and never fully returned. We do understand the lost feeling. Why? For what purpose? We have two girls, they saw it and did not follow that path. We are so grateful.


You may not remember me, but I knew Clayton and remain friends with his cousins. Our church youth group is helping start a student-led anti-drug campaign and I was wondering if you would be interested in speaking/giving them advice. I’m also interested in a Superman shirt (with Clayton’s Lesson on the back!) ---Actually several of them---if you still have any of them.
Looking forward to hearing back from you.


Dear Mrs. Forstrom
In response to “Claytons Lesson” many of my seventh grade students have written letters to you. Could you please give me an address to which I could mail them? Your speech had a powerful impact on our students and staff. They have poured their hearts out to you in these letters. I pray they will encourage and strengthen you to continue the good work that you are doing. Thank you again for sharing your story with us at Norwood Middle School.
Jo Ellen


You probably don’t know me but I was a close friend to Clayton. I just wanted to tell you how much he meant to me and how I loved him so much. I am never going to forget him; he was such a beautiful person inside and out. He just made some bad choices throughout life. CLAYTON HAS REALLY TAUGHT ME A LESSON. He has made such a difference in my life. I am never going to forget him. It’s going to be so different and hard without him in my life. But, with God I think I can get through it…and you can too…I know that you are heartbroken over Clayton’s death. But, just think of it this way, he is in a better place now, with no worries, no problems, and no sadness. I know that if Clayton was able to be here to tell us something today that he would just want us not to cry because he is gone. Instead he would want us to be happy because he is in a wonderful place now, and one day we will see him again. I will never forget when Clayton was in Mrs. Day’s class Tuesday after school. I was there just watching him and he was such a smart person…he was so intelligent…after he got through he took me home. It’s so hard to think about how he had his whole life ahead of him but now he is gone. I just wish I could bring him back. I guess he is busy up in Heaven watching over all of us!!! “BUT BOY DOES GOD HAVE HIS HANDS FULL WITH CLAYTON”….HAHA.
Love Always,


You were such a blessing to have as a friend. I’m so lucky to have known you like I did! We’ve had some good times, and I’m sure everyone has had awesome ones with you. It’s hard to believe that you’re gone. If there was anything I could have done to keep you here I would have. I’m sure that there are people who would have given their own lives for you! You meant so much to us!! I know that I didn’t tell you as much as I should have but I love you Clayton!! I’ll meet you there.


I visited Clayton’s website. It was really sad. But, I enjoyed it! I met Clayton when I was in 7th grade. We had Spanish together…Boy that was funny :)  He used to write me notes and stuff…He was such a blast to be around!!! I miss him a lot and I have been praying for ALL his family and friends since the incident!!! Clayton was an amazing person and he will NEVER be forgotten and always missed!!! I just wanted to tell you that my prayers are with you all…
Thank You,


The night before I heard about Clayton I prayed to God the he would do something to open my eyes & get me to stop doing pain killers, cough medicine and drinking. I knew what I was doing was bad but I didn’t want to stop. The next day when we all got called to the gym and we all heard about what had happened to Clayton and I decided to stop. But, after a few weeks I got drunk again and was doing the cough medicine again and I started smoking pot. I figured that they weren’t as bad as the prescription drugs so it was OK if I did them every now and then. I started to be more and more often….I’m not addicted to anything but I just didn’t want to stop. I always wanted to tell my parents so that they would help me stop for sure. Now I am stopping for Clayton and my parents. I knew what was going on with Clayton and I wish I would have said something to someone. I guess we all wish we would have. I have a friend that does Oxy Cotton regularly. I haven’t talked to him lately but I know he needs help. I don’t want him to get into trouble but he does need help. Email me back or call my cell if there is anything you can do.


Hey Clayton!
I know that you are in heaven now because you were such a wonderful person. Although you made some bad choices in life…..wait, doesn’t everyone? I am so very proud of you and you had an awesome car. I love and miss you so much Clayton….I can’t believe that you are actually gone. But, we will all see you someday in Heaven! Wait on us and help us to stay strong!! I love you Bud! You have taught everyone an incredible lesson, and you have a wonderful family for helping us to realize that. If your family reads this I just want to let them know that I thank them for everything that they have done…You guys are great and we will all meet Clayton in Heaven! We all love and Miss you Clayton!! P.S. Will you tell my Dad that I love and miss him while you’re up there!


To Clayton’s Mom,
I am a counselor at a local High School. I want to thank you for all of the good you have done with your website. It is very informative and a good source of information for students and parents alike. I hope that knowing that you have made a positive influence on other young people will give you some comfort in this enormous time of grief. God Bless You.


I just wanted to let you know I’m praying for you. This website is great!! I really do hope it will reach out to people and help them. I think its great how strong you are being and trying to help others. If you ever need any help I would be more than happy to help you.


I just wanted to let you know that Clayton was one of the funniest guys I ever knew. He always knew just how to make everyone laugh. He was an amazing guy and a wonderful friend. I wrote that poem “We’ll Miss You Clayton” and I meant every word of it. Clayton always stood out in a crowd and always had something to say…He always made me smile.


Dearest Donna,
Hello, I was a friend of Clayton’s. Sometimes I see you around and it amazes me how much you look like him. Or should I say he looked like you. He was always an amazement to Oliver Springs students, he was Clayton. His smile could steal any girls heart…It always seemed to melt mine. The day before he died I saw him in the school parking lot and I looked over to my mom and said “that’s Clayton, what a doll”. It was so weird because he was all I thought about that day. Him and his crazy clothes and messed up hair, he was so sweet and kind. When I look at this website it always breaks my heart!! I can’t believe something like that happened to him but then again anything is possible. I am so sorry that you had to go through losing a wonderful son. I know it hurts, I do understand. I cry every time I see you out. I’m not really sure if it’s because you and Clayton look alike, or the fact that you go through all of this and are still trying to make it? He’s my superman and will always be.
Love always,


To whom it may concern,
I have so many memories of Clayton. He was such an awesome person. He was one of those guys that everyone just wanted to hang out with or get to know, because he had a lot of things going for him. He was very loving and kind. He always knew what to say to make you laugh, and he never liked to see people upset. Clayton was certainly loved and will never be forgotten, I know he will always have a special place in all of our hearts. I hope all young people will remember this tragedy and say no to drugs. I know without a doubt that Clayton is watching over all of us right now and is trying to guide us through life. It’s really hard to believe that he is really gone. Although I’m saddened that he’s no longer here, I am also happy because I know he has flown away to heaven to be with Jesus. I miss Clayton so much and I hope to see him again someday. I will never forget him!!
With much love,


Dear Mrs. Forstrom
Hello, my name is Shauna. I’m a 2002 graduate of OS. I had the honor of getting to know your son when I was a senior. In that time he showed me a young man so full of life and will that it seemed nothing could hold him back. You raised a wonderful and caring son. As you know unfortunately, young people are exposed to more harmful things. I know that in just the past 3 years that I have learned more about different drugs and the different ways they are used than I could have ever imagined. Even though I have never tried drugs, they seem to be a topic of casual conversation. I, like so many young people thought nothing dangerous about drugs. I never thought that they could kill until it happened to Clayton. It’s awful that it takes something as tragic as that to open eyes to what is really happening in the world around us. I would like to express how much you have inspired me. You handling the death of your son the way you have, making a very tragic situation into a life saving learning experience. I have realized how big of a problem that drug abuse really is. Your courage has helped me to be able to talk openly and honestly about drugs and what they can do. I now find myself telling people about Clayton when they begin to talk about drugs. I hope in my heart that it is helping. I feel that maybe if they think of what I told them when they are thinking about doing drugs, maybe they won’t use them at that time. It’s a small triumph but baby steps are steps that matter. Thank you for all you have done for the community we live in.


I got a Clayton’s Lesson T-Shirt from you a while back. You asked that if someone asks about the meaning of it to simply explain Clayton’s Lesson to them. I was very surprised when just a few people asked about what it’s all about. The reason nobody asked, is because they already knew. You’ve done such a great job getting the message out there and I’m really glad. So many of my friends have stopped to think about Clayton’s Lesson before turning down drugs that were offered to them, including myself. I just wanted to say thank you for getting out there and telling everyone the dangers of all of the drugs that are out in the world today.
Thanks again, Holly


 I was one of Clayton’s 4-ever friends. I’ve known Clayton all of my life. I remember the first day I met him. It was in the 1st grade and I thought he was so cute. When I heard the terrible news about his death I was heartbroken. Not only because I knew him…It was just to know that Clayton was doing things like that. I really don’t know what to say or how to say it but, it was so hard for me when that happened. I know Clayton is in a better place. I want you to know that Clayton will never be forgotten in my heart.
Love always, Sonja


I just wanted to send a note to let you know that the work you are doing with “Clayton’s Lesson” is not going un-noticed. I just took my two children to the Oliver Springs Christmas parade.  My daughter, age 6 was in the parade. My son just turned five. We received one of the little papers your group was handing out. I showed Clayton’s picture to my children and explained to them what had happened to him. I told them is anyone offered them drugs to tell them “NO!” They both said that drugs were bad and they wouldn’t take them because they might die. They actually forgot about all the candy they got from the parade for a few minutes to look at Clayton’s picture and realize what a terrible thing had happened because of drugs. When we got home I went to Clayton’s website. I read some of the poems and just had to send a note saying that I am sorry for your loss, and I’m so proud that you have the courage to turn it into something good by helping promote awareness of drugs and what they can do. GOD BLESS YOU!!! I will keep you and your family in my prayers.


I was an acquaintance of Clayton’s but one of my friends was a good friend of his. I think it’s really sad that kids today do drugs and think its fun. The kids that don’t use drugs see how the kids that do use them act goofy and they laugh and think it’s funny. It’s no laughing matter!! The other day I almost lost a friend to Oxycotton. I cried my eyes out. Prior to that day, my friend had spoke of Clayton several times telling me how sweet he was and that he was such a wonderful person. It made me think that kids today need to believe what they hear about drugs. If they have friends that are using drugs they need to help them to stop using or just not be around them. I used to think that drugs were OK as long as people didn’t use them constantly (not that I have ever used drugs). Then one day I realized that this is something that everyone needs to keep out of their lives. Although we were only acquaintances I’ve heard so much about Clayton. It sounds as he would have been every girls dream guy.


I just wanted to say Clayton I love you so much!!! You meant so much to me. You were such a beautiful person inside and out. You have really taught also of people a lesson, including me. It’s so hard to believe that this is really true. I just wish that someone would just wake me up and tell me that it’s all a dream. When I found out what happened to you I was in shock. I thought to myself why, why him, why Clayton, why not me. I just wish that I could have told you bye. I wish that I could have told you how much I care. Clayton it’s just not the same without you. I miss you so much at lunch…we had such great times. Clayton you will always be remembered and loved forever. I know that we will be together again one day. I’m just not sure if I can make it that long without you….Wait for me in Heaven Baby…Rest in Peace…I LOVE YOU.
Until we are together again


Ms. Donna,
Hey there, I just wanted you to tell you that you raised a beautiful son.  He was sweet, kind & nice & loyal.  He loved you so much & talked about you all time.  I loved your son with all of my heart. Every time I see you I see him, he looked just like you.  If you ever need anything I will be here for you.  Clayton was loved so much.  He will always be my superman. He was great and in my heart he will stay for life.  Stay strong and remember Clayton wouldn’t want to see you hurting.  I remember one day he was telling me about an argument you and him got into and he felt so bad because he had hurt your feelings.  He shared a lot with me because I had told him what my past was about.  Clayton was always there for me & I will always love and miss him.

Love always,


Hey there superman!  I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time!  I guess we were the kind for cousins that didn’t talk that much.  After you moved from Harriman we didn’t talk much, but I missed you a lot and I still do!!  I look forward to seeing you everyday.  It breaks my heart to hear about people hurting themselves with drugs!  I have made a promise to myself and you to tell everyone about what happened to you so that they will not hurt themselves!!  I have kept it so far.  I still remember the last few times I talked to you (the one night I needed a ride home but you were grounded for a speeding ticket, and the night you came into Food City when I was having A bad day and you made me laugh.)  I miss that a lot!!  Just know that I love and care about you sooo much!!!  You will ALWAYS be my superman!  Everyone misses you more than you could ever imagine!  I know that you are in good hands though so I don’t worry about you!  We are counting on you to watch you for us!  I LOVE YOU!! See you in my dreams!!!



I saw your picture on the front page of the Oak Ridger today and was very moved by your strength.  My name is Brenda, I went to Clinton High School.  We didn’t hang out together but I knew who you were.  I just wanted to let you know I am truly sorry for your loss.  As my oldest son reaches the beginning of his High School life, I am saddened and disturbed by the wide variety of drugs and the openness of use among peers.  I try to keep an open door with my children and I am very open with my kids about what I see at work (Nurse).  I wish there was a way for these children to see the effects of drugs.  Death is awful and I know that the kids feel the pain and the loss, but as with kids after the moment they move on.  I see children (teens) lying in beds in the trauma center all of the time with body’s broken, minds beyond repair and at times I think worse than even death because some of these will forever live in that state, until God’s mercy they pass.  I see the pain and the devastating effects on the families in the waiting area or at the bedside speaking to the body of what was once their child.  I am truly amazed at the strength and courage you have found and your ability to reach out to others so that they never have to feel the pain and loss that you and your family has felt.  If I can in any way help you share your message please allow me the privilege to do so.  May God bless you and your family.


Dear Donna,
This is Nathan.  I am truly sorry for mot coming to see you during my break; however, I know this is still so hard on everybody.  I can’t even think of Clayton without crying even until this day.  I love Clayton, and he will always be my best friend and little brother.  Although most people think of me as a strong person, a lot of my strength came from being around Clayton, believe it or not he taught me an enormous amount of self control, and how to love people for who they are, and not what they seem to be.  The reason I did not visit during the break is because I still just can’t handle it yet.  I guess it is going to take some time to set in, I mean at first I thought I could handle it, and them it just overwhelmed me. With such grief;
Donna, I can’t begin to convey how much I admire your strength.  I haven’t been to the grave yet either, I had to drive by one time for some reason, and it was excruciating for me.  Anyway, I just had to tell you these things while I have some time tonight because the Lord has really put you on my heart lately.  Please send my regards to the family, and let them know that I think about you guys everyday.

With Much Love,


Just wanted to let you know my heart goes out to you and your family.  I still find it hard to believe, It just doesn’t seem real... But God’s word tells us that life is a vapor.  Each day is a precious gift, and I know you thank him for the days you were able to share with Clayton.  Please know I often pray for your comfort and strength.  Donna, I know that the Lord knows your every pain, every tear that falls...and the sadness in your heart.  1 Peter 5:7 He says to cast all our cares upon him, because He cares for us.  Three years ago I knelt down, cried out to Jesus to help me, where no one else could.  I turned my life over to him and only through him is peace.  One song says, “A joy I can’t explain it fills my soul”.  I can say, life is different.  Everlasting life is a promise, and sharing burdens with ones you care about is a help because you have the Lord on your side!  John 14:27



WHAT IS CLAYTON’S LESSON?  Teens are not invincible, drugs kill, and it can happen to YOU!
I was in Clayton’s 4th period English class.  He never ceased to make us laugh and always brought a jot into the classroom.  Through the tragedy of losing Clayton I hope is has opened the many eyes of people in our community, school, and even in my 4th period class.
Teens aren’t invincible and I think until Clayton’s death many thought nothing bad could happen to someone so young.  It only takes one time to overdose.  I hope people have finally realized that.
Thank-you for being so supportive of our school.  We are praying for your family.  Thank-you for getting the awareness out so we don’t lose another classmate.



Mrs. Forstrom,

I am a true believer that God has a purpose for us all.  I feel that Clayton’s was to help other kids realize the reality about drugs.  I am currently a DCS worker.  Everyday I try to reach out to kids and help them understand what damage they are doing to themselves.  It is refreshing to see how much support Clayton had.  If his death reached out and changed one kid’s life he fulfilled his destiny.  I hope also that this is a lesson to all parents out there that this world puts a lot of pressure on our children.  It is our responsibility to keep them safe, and teach them to make good choices.  I thank you all for this website and I am sure you will never know how many lives you have touched.



Hey Clayton,
Words can’t describe how much you are missed!  At car club meetings, local hangouts, everywhere we go someone always has a story about you.  You touched each and every person you met. That was your gift.  You weren’t just the guy with the awesome car you were the gut that everyone liked and wanted to be friends with.  I was lucky to be a friend of such a great person.  I’m sure you are in that big race track in the sky and waiting for us all to get there.  You told me once that “life is a big race, you never know if your going to win, blow an engine, get a flat, or get delayed, but there is always that joy of when the race actually happens.”
Now has come the time for us to part.  I will live my life one friend less and that spot will never be taken.  But when I get there that spot will be filled once again.


Dear Mrs. Forstrom,

Hello, my name is Courtney and I am the step daughter of one of your clients.  I finally had the chance to review Clayton’s web page and I have to say, Clayton was a very loved person. I attended O.S.E.S up until the summer after 3rd grade, so I was pretty close to many of Clayton’s friends, unfortunately I left before I had a chance to met Clayton in person.  However my step-mother talked about Clayton here and there once I had moved away and I always wanted to met him...I’m sorry that I had to meet him the way I did.  I heard about his death from my friend Robbie, it was a total shock to me, even though I had never had a personal relationship with him.  I kept thinking, “That could have been my brother...or that could have been any of my friends.”  At the funeral, it took everything I had not to break down...I had such an eery feeling in my heart.  I couldn’t believe his life was taken so soon...I guess it hit home because he was my age.  It was so strange, I cried and didn’t even know him, yet I felt like I had known him my whole life.  The whole reason for this email is to say: I live in Florence, S.C. and I have told my friends of my experience at Clayton’s funeral (which I have to say was the saddest funeral I have ever experienced in my life) and about the lessons people have learned over his death.  Ms. Donna, I am sure you hear this all of the time but I am truly sorry that it had to be YOUR son that made such a big difference in my life, I have passed his story on to people 6 hours away from where he lived.  You should feel blessed anyway but extra blessed now because YOUR ANGEL in starting to be known not just in Oak Ridge, Oliver Springs, and the surrounding areas but also in other places like Florence, South Carolina.  May God bless you everyday that you are without Clayton but may you rejoice that he is in a better place.



Hello, I have recently visited Clayton’s web page.  I have regretfully say that I didn’t realize that I knew you son until I seen the pictures.  It truly breaks my heart that I didn’t realize earlier.  I had met him several times a long time ago.  I am writing because I have a friend who I believe is in trouble.  His mother knows that he takes pills and smokes pot but she won’t do anything about it.  I’m really worried. I am truly sorry for your loss.  I can’t imagine how hard this has been for you.  But I believe that you are doing everyone a huge favor by being outspoken.  You have made a lot of people smarter to the consequences of drug abuse.  So I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for your time.



Hey there babe!  I hope everything is going good up there...down here, lets just say its going.  I saw you mom tonight, she is so beautiful, just the way you said she was.  Clayton I never got to tell you just how I felt.  I know it’s a lil’ to late but here goes... Clayton from the moment I laid eyes on you I knew you were the one.  I would always tell my friends that we were going to get married someday and how much I loved you.  I still do! I always will!!! You were always there for me no matter what I was going through.  Remember that one day when you put me on your lap and we sat there.  I tried to get up but you just held me so tight! I wish I could go back to that day, I would have never tried to get up.  You meant the world to me!  You were “MUCH BOY”! And that will never change!  To Clayton’s mom, I know you never knew me but I remember talking to you on the phone one day an when I asked if Clayton was there you said “No he is outside pressure washing the driveway” or something like that.  It was so funny because I was like “I bet he has his shirt off”.  I was really in love with your son.  No one will ever take his place.  He took my heart with him, that will never be given away to anyone else.  Clayton when I leave this world I hope you will be waiting for me so you can show me around and I am naming my boy (when I grow up) after you and I will tell him that he was named after the GREATEST GUY EVER!!! I know people are always saying A you will always be my superman, but Clayton I really mean you are my hero!!  You will always be my superman!!! I love you Clayton and always will!  Don’t forget me at the gates!!!!


To Clayton’s Mother,

I don’t think people my age realize how easy it is to die.  I just wish there was someway that I could ease your pain.  I know how it feels to lose someone to drugs, I am one of those people left behind to learn the lesson that our loved ones never did.  I am really and truly sorry for what happened to Clayton.  That may not make you feel any better but I just felt like I had to write this to you.  I think what you are doing to try to help other people is great.  Clayton was lucky to have so many people who loved him, he really was.  I am not completely sure what the point if this message is, but like is said I felt like it was something I needed to say.  Quiet honestly, I wish there were more people like you out there.  Parents and family members that care!! And imagine, some parents give drugs to their kids, and they do drugs with them!  I think that is the worse thing a parent can do to their child, I really do.  It’s like the parent is TRYING to ruin their child’s life.  I really do think your website will help people, and I will pray for you and your family.
P.S. I think the poems written by Clayton’s Mother are probably the most loving things I have ever read.



Just Saying Thanks,

HI! I know this is a little late to be writing you Clayton but I have been thinking a lot about your death lately.  You were always a friend of mine and always someone I could count on so I thought your family would maybe find a little encouragement in this.  After my wreck you always made me smile when I thought I couldn’t and always made me feel OK about the way I looked.  You were like my moral support when I needed it.  Thanks Clayton!! I know you are doing great and I know you are in a much better place than all of us and I just thought a little thanks might help to brighten up your families day!  You were and still are one in a million!! For when you were with us here you helped a lot of frowns turn to smiles, a lot of bad days turn good, and a lot tears turn to laughs!! You are greatly missed and I am proud to say I have learned from your lesson and I am very grateful I knew you here on earth as a friend and as a person I could always turn to.  I will continue to think about you and hope your family is doing good.

I love you always and forever


Dearest Donna,

If I could be honest I want to say I think of you a lot.  I have a lot of respect for you.  For you to have gone through and to look so pretty and still be able to talk about Clayton.  That’s wonderful!! I’m telling you from experience...I have a family member that lost her son several years ago and she still is not really herself.  She changed a lot and I am sure you have too.  But yet you can still smile and talk about Clayton’s good times and she cannot. She always seems sad and down.  I try to help her but things always make her cry.  I lost my mom when I was little and I know death is very hard. I know. I really do!!! I miss Clayton and a lot of times I feel like he is still here.  I know he watches over us all.  His wonderful smile still can make me melt to my knees.  Clayton was a person that if you ever meet him once you automatically loved him.  Donna I appreciate you coming by the High School it helps me.  I like knowing that you are okay and that his family is still okay and living alright. I wanted to tell you thanks and that I am here for you if you need to talk.



Clayton’s Family

I know that you don’t know me, but I was a friend of Clayton’s.  I didn’t know him as well as I wish I would have, but I’m just glad that I had the privilege to know him as well as I did, because he really touched my life.  I go to Clinton High School so I didn’t get to see him everyday like most of his friends.  I cherish every moment that I got to spend with him.  I can remember the times we hung out.  Clayton was great!! When I was with him I had a smile on my face the whole time! He always found a way to cheer me up.  I really miss him, but I know he is in a better place now.  All of this has really taught me a big lesson.  A little over a year age I lost a friend because he committed suicide.  It was exactly a year to the day of Clayton’s funeral.  That made everything worse, but it made me realize how much I love my friends and that I need to be there for them.  When Clayton died a realized that I had to change my life.  I also knew I had to try to help other people.  I’m glad you’re making everyone aware of the warning signs of drug abuse and I hope everything that you are doing will help save someone’s life.  (I love and miss you Clayton!) I hope you are waiting for me when I get to heaven’s gates.

See ya soon bud



Click here to hear Better Place

Find Help



HomeClayton's Story  |  Find Help  |  Notes to Parents  |  Remembrances  |  Special Events  |  Contact
Web design by Best Dressed Media
Site designed by Best Dressed Media