The aftermath of a tragedy is always a difficult time. Following Thursday's heartbreaking passing of Texas firefighter Shannon Stone, people across the country felt the startling shockwaves of such an abrupt ending. None more so than Texas Rangers All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton.
The once troubled 30-year old has faced many demons throughout his life, but none could compare to his immediate feelings Thursday night. Rangers fan Shannon Stone, lost his balance attempting to catch a foul ball thrown his way by Hamilton -- his son's favorite player -- and tumbled over the stands, dropping 20 feet onto solid concrete. He was pronounced dead later that night. No one would blame Josh Hamilton, but that sentiment is little comfort in the face of such tragedy.
Tuesday morning the difficult healing process began, as Shannon's widowed wife, Jenny Stone, issued a statement in the Bronx Bulletin. The piece was the family's first official public statements since the accident, and thanked Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers organization for their support, imparting that in no way should they blame themselves.
The entire statement can be read here. Selections from the piece can be seen below.
Monday we said goodbye to a wonderful man. Shannon was truly a great husband, father, son, brother, uncle, firefighter, and friend. While we have been overwhelmed with sadness by his death, we have also been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and sympathy that we have received, from complete strangers as far away as New Zealand, to the former president of the United States of America, to our closest friends and family. While we will never forget that horrible night, we also will never forget the gentleman from Hawley, Texas, who protected Cooper that evening and came to pay his respects on Sunday.
We are also thankful for Nolan Ryan, Josh Hamilton, the Texas Rangers, the Rangers fans, and all baseball fans, which have showed such concern and compassion.
Josh Hamilton remains Cooper's favorite baseball player, the Texas Rangers will always be our team, and baseball will always be our favorite game.
Again, we are so very thankful, appreciative, and overwhelmed by all of the support we have received. Shannon loved going to watch the Rangers and he loved Cooper. And, at the very end, he lived life to its fullest, doing something he loved.