Luke William Hahn was born on July 7, 1997. He was a sweet, quiet baby and was adored by his two older sister’s, Sammi and Lexi as well as all of his family. He grew into a “typical” little boy, loving anything on wheels, peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches and “working” with his Daddy. Diagnosed in second grade as having learning disabilities, he struggled with academics. Although he had difficulties, he always tried to do his best. As he grew into a young boy, it was totally apparent what was important to him: his close knit group of friends, his family and his “big” dirt jumper bike. Many people remember him hanging out with his buddies on his bike. He was known for being able to do the longest wheelie, amazing all of his friends. He was also known for the many hugs he gave to his friends, telling them he loved them on various occasions. He could be counted on to give support or offer his help to someone in need, having compassion for those needing a pat on the back or a word of encouragement. I would be completely lacking if I did not mention his hilarious sense of humor which consisted of pranks, jokes and that unforgettable laugh of his. I know it sounds cliché, but he truly lived his life to the fullest or as I like to say, he lived his life in “fast forward.” He never wasted a day and always showed our family what was truly important in life.
On July 5, 2010, the unthinkable happened. Two days before Luke’s thirteenth birthday, I got the phone call no parent wants to get. Luke and his father, Kraig were in a horrific accident. Luke had been helping his Dad on a farm. There was a propane tank explosion. Kraig was burned eighty-three percent of his body and was being flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital’s burn unit. Luke was killed instantly. My world went immediately dark. I was told my husband would have a less than five percent chance of survival and if he would survive life as we knew it would be filled with unimaginable amounts of surgeries, months of physical therapy, not to mention, the emotional issues of losing our son. Our family took one day at a time and with plenty of amazing care and expertise from his doctors and nurses, Kraig made it through the 35+ surgeries and has regained his mobility and his spirit. Those days, though, were filled with constant love and support from our families, friends and from our very small, yet amazing, community. There was not a day that went by that someone would not cook for us, give us a ride to the hospital, send cards or letters expressing their sympathy or just the giving of a hug while sitting quietly next to me as I sat in disbelief. I will never be able to thank the people enough that helped our family through the most difficult time in our lives.
It was out of this incredible showing of compassion that our commitment to giving back came about. This is how the Luke William Hahn Foundation was born. Each year we award a scholarship to a high school student or students with learning disabilities or special needs who will be furthering their education at a trade school or college. We also purchased a new piece of equipment for the local skate park in Luke’s honor. (The skate park was one of Luke’s favorite places to be). After the accident, we felt the need in our community for some sort of grief support for both adults and school-age children. At this moment, it is our primary focus for the foundation. We offer grief support groups in our home for adults. We also offer grief support groups for children and adolescents in grades four through twelve in the Pen Argyl Area School District as well as neighboring Bangor School District. It is our foundation’s goal to offer programs in an area (grief) that is often overlooked, but very important to a person’s well being. I know, as our foundation continues to grow and expand into additional ways to help people on their grief journeys, we will always keep the compassion we were shown forefront in our minds. We will never forget how we felt having so many kind people support us and we will continue to show this to the people we meet through our new work. I am saddened by the way in which I came to this place in my life, but excited about knowing we will, hopefully, help many through others’ along their grief journeys.