From tragedy springs hope. Those words describe the ongoing legacy of James Eunice. James went missing the morning of January 15, 2011, while duck hunting in Lake Park, GA. He was recovered the morning of January 31 by pararescue jumpers (PJs) from the 38th Rescue Squadron from Moody Air Force Base. The story of the search for and recovery of James is remarkable, but the real story is how he lived and how his life and legacy continue to make a difference in the lives of others. James' parents, John and Tammy, continue to share James' story with schools, churches, FCA huddles, civic organizations and other events. Through the generosity and support of an amazing community, the James Eunice Charity Fund has given back over $350,000 to the community, including 270 scholarships to graduating seniors from over 20 schools across south Georgia and north Florida since 2011.
James posted this on his Facebook page to describe himself. James went missing on January 15, 2011 while duck hunting with a friend at Ocean Pond, just south of Valdosta, GA. During the 17 day search that followed, an unbelievable story unfolded about an ordinary young man surrendered to an extraordinary God who made a difference by making a positive impact on the lives of everyone he encountered. When asked by his friends what he wanted to do after graduation, James would reply, "All I want to do is make a difference in people's lives." Through the generosity and support of an amazing community, The James Eunice Charity Fund was born. The fund seeks to continue James' story and legacy, and has donated over $400,000 to the community through local charities and presented 373 scholarships to graduating seniors from over 25 area high schools across south Georgia and north Florida. James' parents continue to share James' story with churches, schools, FCA huddles, and civic organizations. They are available to share an incredible story about an ordinary young man whose life continues to impact others, and ask for nothing more than the opportunity to share James' story and legacy.
Take time to love someone. Today, Tomorrow, For the rest of your life. Becasue when that unexpected day comes that they pass on, you'll be left wondering what you could've done better. How you could have made them feel more welcome, and show that you do care for them. Don't wait until it's too late like I did. Show the love that Jesus has for you to everyone you see. Let your heart break for what breaks His. Christ is enough. Let Him show you life. You never know who He may touch through you. It is so sad that it takes a tragedy like this to comprehend how our days are numbered. Only He knows. Keep your faith in Him. He will bless you beyond belief. Our job is right now. This very second. So often, God gives me a little nudge towards someone.. and I put it off until the next day.. and then the next and then the next. Stop stalling. God put us on this earth for HIS glory. Not ours.. and so many times, the things I do always point back to me and my stupid self righteousness. So do something with me. Everyone. If this just touches one person, I will have done my job. Don't stall. Judgement is a heart beat away.
A Life Well Lived
A Life Well Lived
James David Eunice was born June 16, 1993 in Athens, Georgia to John and Tammy Eunice. He blessed the lives of his brother, John Eunice, and his sister, Lindsey Eunice. We say that James was our son and brother, but he was more than that. He was a son of the living God, and a brother to everyone he met.
During his seventeen years, James lived in Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Guam, Illinois, and South Carolina, and visited Australia, Hawaii, and numerous other states and locations. I say this only to say that James really lived. He loved God, loved people, loved life. James met no strangers, and greeted everyone with a hug and "I love you."
He proudly proclaimed on his Facebook page that he was employed by Jesus Christ. When it came to religion, he professed to have no religion, but a personal relationship with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. James began most conversations with new friends asking if they attended church, and inviting them to join him at Crosspointe Church. He loved God and wanted to share that relationship with everyone he met.
On the morning of January 15th, 2011, James went duck hunting at Ocean Pond with his friend, Drew Pipkin. After parting ways with Drew for what should have been a short time, James went missing. A large-scale search was launched while family and friends gathered at Ocean Pond. The search continued for seventeen agonizing days until James' earthly body was recovered from the pond.
The entire community was impacted in ways never thought possible through what happened to James that day, but even more so by what James had done prior to that day. He left a legacy of laughter, faith, and friendship that will never be forgotten by those who knew James and have heard his story.
Everyone has a favorite "James story," whether it was hiding under the desk to scare his teacher, Mrs. Eldridge, losing his boomerang on the roof of the school, pulling his friends out of the mud, refereeing at Parks and Rec, being a Doopster, or calling his mom a helicopter parent. He made us laugh. He made us feel special, as if we were the only person in the world at the time. He encouraged us. He witnessed to us.
James would be the first to admit that he was not perfect, but he was a walking testimony to the grace of God, and how we should treat others. He was a proud son, proud brother, proud grandchild, loyal friend, athlete, student, musician, but the title he was most proud of was faithful follower of Christ. I am certain his grandfather met him at the gates of heaven, and heard Jesus tell James, "Well done, good and faithful servant." There is no doubt he is watching us today. He would say, "This is fye!" and tell everyone, "I love you."
Still Making a Difference
Still Making a Difference
Through the outpouring of love and support for James and his legacy, the James Eunice Charity Fund has presented 373 $500 scholarships to over 25 schools across south Georgia and north Florida.
The James Eunice Charity Fund has donated over $65,000 to charities across the region.
James' life and legacy impacted a community. Numerous volunteers energized the Diving for James campaign in the 90 days following James' recovery to raise money to outfit the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department Dive Team. The community raised $149,000 to furnish dry suits, a dive boat, SONAR, metal detectors, computers and various other equipment for the team. James' mom and dad presented the check to the Sheriff's Department on June 16, 2011, James' 18th birthday.