Our Personal Family Tragedy Leads to Hope for Underprivileged Kids-St Joseph MO

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Stein Summers MO #1999033426

I am humbled to be a finalist for the 2015 National Association of REALTORS Good Neighbor Award. I wrote this post in 2008, but after being asked by lots of followers to share my story, I am resharing my post.


In 2004, the new year was just beginning for us.  The holidays were over, our two kids were safely back at their homes, and I


Mark J Reynolds-Big Bear California

was starting to think that the Christmas tree needed to be tackled next...but it could wait a day or two...or maybe longer.

On January 9th, at FOUR IN THE MORNING, the doorbell rang at our home. 

My husband headed to the door thinking, "Who in the world is here at this hour?" 

Almost instantly, he came back to the bedroom and said, "There are two police officers here - they won't say what they want."  

Grabbing my robe, I ran to the door.  One of the police officers started to extend his hand as if to shake my hand and said, "Could we please sit down?"

Instantly, my knees felt like rubber and the tears began to run down my face when I asked them, "WHICH ONE OF MY KIDS?!"  My heart was telling me why they were here.  

Personally, I did not want to hear him saying that he was the Chaplin at the St Joseph Police Dept., as I repeated "Which one of my Kids?"

He spoke very softly, trying to offer his sympathies.  Finally, I heard him say: "Mark..."

As my knees weakened and I found the sofa, my husband asked, "How did it happen?" 

The other officer said they didn't have complete information other than the fact that it involved a mountain lion...

I kept telling myself this cannot be REAL-it's a dream-- it HAS to be a DREAM.  After all, I just talked with Mark yesterday.  He was leaving to go to Phoenix with the motocross riders he represented and he would call me on Monday,

Then, he said simply, "Mom, I love you."

Through the years of raising our 2 kids there was a mutual understanding and awareness  "As a child they were important"so we always strived to never put off until tomorrow what they needed today.   Dinner was together as a family, we attended the activities they were involved in, we spent time each day with them to really listen to them and to know how their day was (all the important stuff)  They knew their friends were welcome at a moment's notice for dinner at our house. 

They both knew and understood the word Love and it was expressed every day in our home. 

When you live through such a tragic accident as a parent, you never get over the loss of your child and there is never an understanding of why it happened in the first place.


Mark Reynolds Bench

In case you were wondering, that is a photo above of our beloved son Mark.  To learn more about his fund, visit

Mark Reynolds logo


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If your looking for a home in the St Joseph Mo area, you can visit my

St Joseph REAL ESTATE website at www.donareynolds.com


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Not a real person 12/31/2008 05:06 PM
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Dona Reynolds
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Stein Summers - Saint Joseph, MO
St. Joseph MO

Hi Terrie:)  It is a absolute must, if your child gets on the bike you must have a helmet or the bike will be put up!  I have seen to many little kids brain injured because they did not have a helmet on, please tell your kids it is a must.

Terrie we are actually quite like your family, my kids graduated from college and were fortunate to have their careers that both had dreamed of and life was good for both of them.  A family disaster like this really takes a tole on parents.  Bikes should be part of every child's life and this is why we chose to carry forth Mark's generosity for underprivileged kids and it has helped so much trying to heal from this tragedy. 

Jan 01, 2009 11:36 AM #43
Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula
Realty Works Temecula - Temecula, CA
Realty Works Temecula

Dona, What a touching story.  I am at a loss for words as a mother of two boys.  Your courage to write the post and share your feelings is very much appreciated as you have so many comments and have undoubtedly touched many lives through the www.markreynoldsfund.org.  Thank you for sharing this story and for reminding us that our children are precious and that we need to tell them that we love them every time they leave the house.

Jan 02, 2009 06:54 AM #44
Dona Reynolds
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Stein Summers - Saint Joseph, MO
St. Joseph MO

Hi Jane!  I believe it is important for parents to be aware and understand that every child should know they are important as a child.                 

Mark's story and foundation have touched hundreds of children's and parent's lives in our bicycle giveaways across the nation.  Mark would have wanted his personal mission to provide kids a bike, to continue.

Jan 02, 2009 11:35 AM #45
Judi Morgan
RETIRED - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio, TX Real Estate

Dona, I'm sitting here in awe of you with tears running down my face, in fact I can't even read what I'm typing.  This post is beautifully written and I know it was difficult to write.  I look forward to getting to know you better.  :)

Jan 10, 2009 01:09 PM #46
Dona Reynolds
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Stein Summers - Saint Joseph, MO
St. Joseph MO

Thanks Judi ~ As parents we never expect anything to happen to our children!  Visit Marks website www.markreynoldsfund.org to read more about Mark and how underpriveleged kids prayers are being answered.

Jan 10, 2009 02:46 PM #47


As usual, I am amazed by your strength. You serve as an example to all of us. Thank you for your service to others, for using your pain to take away the pain of others. We love you and are SO proud of all you have accomplished in Mark's name and memory.


Jan 11, 2009 12:17 PM #48
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth
Dona, I remember from the past you telling us the story about your loss of Mark. These anniversary times are tough. My thoughts are with you. Happy New Year!
Dec 31, 2009 11:30 PM #50
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

I am so very sorry.  These are hard days when you loose a loved one.

Know that YOU are not alone and we feel your pain.  We lost our Daughter to Breast Cancer 3 years ago and it is still an open wound..

Sep 10, 2015 05:38 AM #51
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I've been on the other end of terrible news, my husband. I can't even imagine listening to this about a child. Bless you and your family. 

Sep 10, 2015 10:19 AM #52
Mery Fernandez Empire Network Realty Luxury Brokerage
Empire Network Realty INC. - Orlando, FL
The Rise of An Empire, Let's Build Yours!

Hello and congratulations on your featured blog post! Well done and hope to see you have many more featured post.

Sep 11, 2015 12:27 AM #53
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Living a full life with an awareness that we all are just passing through helps us to better get along, love deeper and manifest a gratitude moment to moment. Now, you must live for Mark and yourself. In his name and by your respect of it

Sep 11, 2015 12:31 AM #54
Dona Reynolds
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Stein Summers - Saint Joseph, MO
St. Joseph MO

Richie, Powerful statement on your comment, Thank you!!

Thanks for taking the time to stop in and comment.

Have a great week-end!

Sep 11, 2015 03:16 AM #55
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

You truly are an inspiration to so many.  You have made a differencence in the lives of so many children.

Sep 12, 2015 02:13 PM #56
Dona Reynolds
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Stein Summers - Saint Joseph, MO
St. Joseph MO

Joan:  Thank you for your nice comments!  Im of the opinion when something like this happens you can bury your head in the sand and cry forever, or you can do something to make a difference!


Sep 14, 2015 04:40 AM #57
Marco Giancola
Beachfront Realty - Miami Beach, FL
Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida

Hello Dona, congrats on surpassing the 100K mark and winning that award! 

Sep 29, 2016 10:33 PM #58
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Donna, thank you for sharing that story, it must be painful to do so. I'm a Dad and I couldn't imagine that call or knock at the door. What a great way to honor your son. We just never know peoples' stories, so we need to start from love.

Sep 29, 2016 11:28 PM #59
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

In the moment of realizing such profound loss, it is impossible to see how a change that is certain within us will be used to touch the lives of many others.

On the other side of the confusion you walk now in a clarity of purpose that resonates deeply with those who hear your story.

It is no longer a story of loss but one of promise.

That it is each ones personal responsibility to keep the ember of promise safe and nurtured well in those lives we can touch.

Thank you for keeping the promise young lives represent alive and well.

Sep 30, 2016 01:09 AM #60
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Donna, good job on passing 100K

Sep 30, 2016 05:13 AM #61
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Hi Dona!  So, I have no idea how 4 others arrived here on THE same day as me to read this post - totally bizarre!  I have been back in the Rain for a few months and thought I'd stop by to say 'hello' as I missed seeing you - so I chose your last post to leave a comment...and here I am!

I applaud you for nurturing such a wonderful cause in honor or your son. No one can feel the pain that you feel with the loss of a child - it has to be worse than any pain imaginable.  You're truly a wonderful soul and I know all of the children that are benefiting from your efforts in your son's name agree wholeheartedly.

I hope business is well for you and hope to see you in the Rain soon!  

Sep 30, 2016 08:54 AM #62
Dona Reynolds
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Stein Summers - Saint Joseph, MO
St. Joseph MO

Good to see you here on the rain again! Hope you and Ray are well

Oct 01, 2016 10:17 AM #63
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Dona Reynolds

St. Joseph MO
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