Part of the Goshen community was tragically lost on Dec. 18, 2016. Anna Barnard, a senior at Bethany Christian High School, lost her life from injuries that she sustained in a car crash on Indiana 23.
Barnard was the passenger in the car of another Bethany student when their car drifted into the lane of oncoming traffic and collided with another vehicle carrying six other people. The driver of Barnard’s car was treated for several serious injuries, while the passengers of the car opposite to them sustained only minor injuries.
Barnard, an exchange student from Belgium, is described by many as one with an infectious personality, full of laughter and passion.
“She knew everyone had flaws… but she always put that behind and loved everyone for who they were,” said Kelsey Fraley, senior women’s basketball player. “I think she really left an impact on whomever she had encounters with.”
Though a student at Bethany Christian, Barnard had a well-known presence at Goshen College. Both a basketball and soccer athlete in high school, Barnard was planning to continue playing for Goshen crowds, as she was planning on attending Goshen College this coming autumn. She was also often seen at college sporting events, cheering on the Maple Leafs.
“We got to know Anna through her recruitment as a soccer player to Goshen College,” said women’s soccer coach Scott Gloden. “She was a terrific soccer player, but a better person. She was part of the Goshen College family before she was a student here, and that was in large part due to her contagious personality.”
Tevin Gilkes, a sophomore on the men’s soccer team, got to know Barnard during his first year here at Goshen, while he was red-shirting his first season.
“She came to every game that season,” said Gilkes. “Anna always had a smile on her face and had words of encouragement. I was very excited to see her play in college, but I know if heaven has a soccer team she will be very happy!”
Several Bethany graduates who are now at Goshen College also had very close connections to Barnard. Darienne Maust, a first-year, was once a sort of mentor for Barnard in her first days at Bethany, showing her the ropes. Very quickly, she felt like a sister to Maust.
“Anna knew no strangers,” Maust said. “Her spirit was bigger than the world. She is missed by everyone she touched, which in reality was everyone she met.”
Mia Graber Miller, another first-year and Bethany graduate, came to know Anna through school, church youth group and particularly soccer.
“She and I connected on so many levels: both of us were adopted, and we both had very diverse international experience,” said Graber Miller. “Over the year we overlapped at Bethany, she and I had gone through so much together, and I couldn’t have imagined anyone else but her by my side. Anna was my rock, my sister and soulmate.”
Over Thanksgiving break, the two were able to catch up.
“Anna had a tremendous future ahead of her, and I know she would have been very successful wherever this new journey would take her as she entered into this next phrase in life. I was so incredibly proud of the young woman she had become.”
In the aftermath of Barnard’s incident, there have been many ways in which people have celebrated her life. In the days following her death, the Bethany Bruin’s girl’s basketball team continued on with their plan to host the Concord Minutemen. The gym was packed with supporters, as a special service was held before the game for the lost Bruin. The Bruins ended up edging out the Minutemen in a very close and emotional game.
Chistopher Barnard, Anna’s brother, has created a fundraising page for Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, an orphanage in New Delhi, India, where Anna was initially adopted by Benjamin and Deanne Barnard. As of now, the fundraiser has raised $7,000 from over 10 different countries in the wake of Anna’s death.
The fund will be open for a few more weeks, and all donations, big or small, are welcome. For those interested, go to the YouCaring.com official website and search for the Anna Barnard Memorial Fund.