For weeks Windham has been waiting, praying and hoping for a miracle after the tragic motorcycle accident that put Toby Pennels into the hospital and into a coma. To date, he has not been able to communicate with his family and as of Tuesday was admitted into the Hospice House in Auburn according to his wife on the website www.Caring Bridge.org, where she updated the thousands of people who care about Toby.
For those who never met him, I’m sorry. For those who loved him, I’ve even more sorry, for every day must seem like an eternity without him.
Toby has been a part of Windham since before he graduated from Windham High School and since he served on the Windham School Board and the board for RSU14. He has been seen in all the parades marching in his military uniform, because Colonel Pennels was that type of man - one who served his country and fought for our freedoms. He is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the president of Windham Veterans Association.
I by no means know him more than our brief interactions for a casual interview or to get a signature for a Boy Scout form, since he was the representative for the VFW. Those who know him can tell you many more stories, but I felt like to Toby what I said mattered and that he genuinely loves people.
When I think of what he’s going through now, I wonder how something like this can happen. The injustice of the whole situation is monumental.
We at The Windham Eagle offer our prayers to the thousands out there. We are praying for that miracle, because sometimes when hope is forsaken, others have to take over the praying for those who can’t.
No one should have to go through what the Pennels’ family is at this time. So hug your families extra tight, kiss them goodbye before they leave and remember, every second is a gift.
If you want to help, there are ways.
Toby received over 43 pints of blood during his treatment at Central Maine Medical Center. His friends have had blood drives in Toby’s honor and another one hosted by the VFW will take place this week at the Veteran’s Center behind Hannaford in Windham. On Wednesday, September 10, between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., give blood in Toby’s honor.
Editor's note: Toby passed away last Thursday. Our thoughts are with Toby's family. The funeral will be on Sept. 20 at the Windham High School auditorium at 4 p.m.