One year ago, Craig Strickland's body was found after disappearing on Kaw Lake in Oklahoma, during a winter storm.
Strickland, lead singer for country band Backroad Anthem, and his friend Chase Morland left their northwest Arkansas homes for a duck hunting trip the weekend following Christmas 2016. Families of the men became alarmed when they didn't hear from them for more than 24 hours and a search party was deployed. The following day, Morland's body was found along with the men's capsized boat. Laying next to Morland, was Strickland's dog, Sam, who survived the accident. It would be nearly a week later before Strickland's body would be recovered.
Strickland was married to former Miss Arkansas USA Helen Wisner who kept fans updated on the search for her husband, even sharing an emotional post the day Craig was found.
Craig was found today. We can finally rest knowing that he is at Home in Heaven with his Father. The night of the accident he had fought his way out of the water and up a hill before the stages of hypothermia set in. He experienced no pain in his final moments and simply felt like he was falling asleep. They found him lying in the shape of a cross looking up to his Father. Thank you to every single person who prayed for him and our family during this time. There was not a more peaceful way for him to go into the arms of our Lord, and I know your prayers had a role in making that happen. I know he saw Jesus at that moment when he laid down and walked arm in arm with Him into a better Everlasting Life. I love you with all my heart Craig Michael. #craigstrickland
Yesterday (January 4, 2017), Helen took to Instagram to remember her husband, his legacy, and what the last year has been like without him. She also shared a screen shot of her final text with her husband.
A year ago today, the search for my husband @backroadcraig concluded. I remember receiving these last texts from him before talking for the last time on the phone-I'm so thankful God gave me the blessing of getting to say and hear the words "I love you" to/from him just moments before he and Chase got in their 10ft flat bottom boat. It was truly such a blessing the day we found Craig. We were finally able to find some kind of peace knowing he was with his Heavenly Father. God showed us then, and continues to show us, that He takes care of his children. While the pain is great that we carry, our Lord will carry the burden if we choose to let Him. A year later, I can testify to God's goodness and the gift of love that He pours out to those in pain. Sometimes His gifts of love aren't what we want or expect-for example, our savior Jesus Christ coming as a baby-but in the end, God's way is always better than what we want for ourselves. God is good, and His ways are perfect- I trust that. Losing Craig was not what any of us desired; but as @strickark told me - when we get sad, we can think of all the ways God will bless others through Craig's story. What a wonderful and humbling reminder that God has chosen Craig's family to help others. At the closing of this year, I am thankful for God's gift of life. And one day, I will be so excited to sit with Craig and our Father in heaven, as we tell Craig about all the opportunities his family had to share the love of Christ with hurting people all over the world because of his testimony. What a gift of love that will be❤ *Please visit the Craig Strickland Foundation homepage to donate to scholarships established in honor of Craig; and be looking for the launch of my new website, which will be the home for my blog/vlog, as well as the place to contact/hire me for speaking engagements. www.craigstricklandfoundation.org
Per Helen Strickland's post, a foundation has been created that will distribute scholarships in honor of Craig. According to the Craig Strickland Foundation website, "The mission of the Craig Strickland Foundation is to celebrate Craig’s legacy and invite others to share in his joy. This foundation is dedicated to helping young adults leverage the opportunities God brings their way. We are thankful for the impact Craig had on a great many lives and for leaving us with the gift of his legacy."
If you would like to contribute to the Craig Strickland Foundation, click here.
Watch Craig Strickland's final video with Background Anthem below.
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