[Congressional Record (Bound Edition), Volume 152 (2006), Part 4]
[Page 4878]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. POE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to claim the time of 
the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Jones).
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe) is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. POE. Mr. Speaker, every day parents send their children to school 
with the faith that they will return after their classes, their sports 
practice, or even clubs after school. As a father of four, I know the 
feeling. I did the same for many years on different occasions. We as 
parents send our kids off, and we trust that we will see them that 
night for supper.
  But for two Beaumont, Texas, families last Thursday morning, it did 
not occur that way. West Brook High School students Alicia Bonura and 
Ashley Brown were playing in the soccer playoffs after school that day. 
That morning their parents wished them good luck and sent them on their 
way, anticipating news of a win upon their return. When they sent their 
daughters to school, they had no idea of the nightmare that would 
unfold that afternoon. Tragically, their star soccer players never came 
  It was supposed to be an exciting day. Mr. Speaker, Beaumont, Texas, 
has suffered through a rough year with many families still feeling the 
effects of Hurricane Rita. The West Brook High School girls soccer team 
and their successes were good news to this storm-torn city.

                              {time}  1945

  The Bruins were coming off a 14-5-2 record, and they were traveling 
to Humble, Texas, to take on the Houston Lamar Redskins in the Class 5A 
playoffs. The game had already been postponed once and it was raining 
again, but the game was set to take place at 5 p.m. in Humble. 
Unfortunately, the team never made it to the game.
  Around 2 p.m., about 28 miles from home in Devers, Texas, the 
chartered bus carrying the team, the coach and one parent chaperone 
swerved to miss debris that had fallen off a truck in front of them. 
The bus rolled onto its side into a muddy ditch.
  Sadly, senior Alicia Bonura and sophomore Ashley Brown lost their 
lives in this tragedy. Six other girls were hospitalized in serious 
condition. Goalie Devin Martindale lost her arm in this accident. The 
other five girls were Lauree Thibaut, Allison Forman, Sarah Beach, 
Courtney Garrod, and Sarah Babin. Two of those girls have been released 
from the hospital and are back home.
  News of the accident quickly spread back to the town and West Brook 
students set up a vigil in the high school gymnasium where friends and 
faculty prayed and hoped for the best. Soon the students were hit with 
the horrendous news that two of their own had been killed in this 
  According to the Beaumont Enterprise, the girls are remembered for 
``loving soccer, loving their school and loving everyone they came in 
touch with.''
  Alicia Bonura, in addition to playing soccer, had played basketball, 
she ran cross-country, and was a trainer for the West Brook football 
team. She played the drums in the band and sometimes she sang vocals as 
well. She is remembered for her wonderful laugh and a smile that would 
light up a room. She was ranked number five in her class of 535, and 
she recently decided to attend Texas A&M University to study mechanical 
  On her MySpace Web page she wrote: ``I love to smile and love life in 
general and I love God. He is such a fantastic guy.'' Under people she 
would like to meet, she writes, ``I can't wait to meet God.'' Moving 
words from one of God's children.
  Ashley Brown was a freckle-faced girl with long red hair. Her friends 
said she always made people laugh and was a free spirit and had a smile 
that would light up a room. Her teachers said that her fellow students 
gravitated to her. She was an active member in her youth ministry at 
her church, Calvary Baptist. Besides soccer, she loved singing, playing 
volleyball, skiing and playing the electric guitar.
  Ashley had a bulletin board in her home covered in photos and 
memorabilia. In the middle of the board there was a handwritten note 
stating the following: ``You can't choose how you are going to die, but 
you can choose how you are going to live.''
  Mr. Speaker, in her 16 years on Earth, Ashley Brown lived life to the 
fullest, and she is going to be missed.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this moment to extend prayers and 
condolences to Alicia's and Ashley's parents, relatives, friends, and 
the community of Beaumont, Texas, the students and teachers and the 
coaches at West Brook High School and the Bruins girls soccer team. We 
hope that they find happiness in their fond memories of these special 
  Alicia and Ashley truly led remarkable lives. They clearly touched so 
many people in their short time on Earth. Heaven is certainly brighter 
with Alicia and Ashley there, and the community of Beaumont Texas 
should take comfort. They now have two extra guardian angels looking 
down on them.
  Mr. Speaker, that's just the way it is.