Memorial service held for car crash victims

A memorial service was held in honor of Oakland University student Jenna Balabuch and former OU student Rachel Ring, who were both killed in the I-75 car crash Oct. 22. OU student Shannon Waite was critically injured in the crash.

The event doubled as a support rally for junior Shannon Waite, an English major, also a victim of the accident, who is still recovering in the hospital.

Sigma Tau Delta advisor and English professor Bailey McDaniel shared with attendees that Waite is awake and coherent.  Waite’s parents hope that she will begin a physical therapy program soon.

Jeff Ring, Rachel’s father, spoke of his daughter as an individual and as a student.

“If you didn’t know her, she was a loving, kind, passionate little girl — well, woman I should say,” Jeff said. “It’s good to know that our daughter had an impact, and that Jenna had an impact, in the lives of the people she met.”

Linda McCloskey, a special instructor in the English department described Jenna as a, “sponge,” that is, eager to learn.

“The thing I remember the most is looking at her and seeing that beautiful infectious smile, and the look that I think all teachers hope to see on the first day of their classes,” she said. “The look that says: ‘I am here, I am excited to be here and I want to learn everything I can from you.’”

Kaitlin Huff, Sigma Tau Delta vice president, described Waite as a passionate English major and a fan of the hula-hoop.

“Shannon is a free spirit, a genuinely caring and loving individual,” she said, “artistic and fully driven academically.”

At the close of the event, guests were given tulip bulbs to plant in memory of Ring and Balabuch.

The Graham Health Center is helping students and families mourn the lost of the students. To make an appointment with Graham Counseling Center, call 248-370-3465.