We Just Came Home To Some Awful News.

I’ve taken shooting instruction from Insights Training, in Seattle, and one of the instructors there, John Holschen, came down and taught a ‘Field Trauma for Motorcyclists’ to a group of my friends here in Los Angeles. The uber-first-aid kit was based on his recommendations.

John was a former Special Forces operator, taught martial arts at Ft. Benning, and impressed me as one of the calmest, most gentle and thoughtful men I have ever met.

Via one of my mailing lists, I just discovered that while he was in Iraq contracting to the State Department his family was in a horrible highway accident which killed one of his daughters and left another in a coma.His family is going to need a lot of help; I don’t know first-hand their financial situation, but John won’t be working for a while, and to help him and his family out, several assistance funds have been set up at Washington Mutual

Account: Martha Holschen Aid Fund # 1800767923
Washington Mutual Bank
Bank by Mail
P. O. Box 1106
North Ridge, CA 91328

But there’s more. I’ve talked in the past about the lessons I’ve learned from the various martial artists I’ve been lucky enough to study under. One of the major lessons, to me, is the simple fact that the very best at martial skills seem to always also be incredibly good human beings.

John Holschen has all the military and martial skills I imagine it’s possible to have. And when he stayed at our home for three days, he was unassuming, gentle, a truly calm and happy man. There is a kind of peacefulness that I see in these masters, and while the truth is that I’m a mediocre student who doesn’t practise hard enough to ever approach their martial skills, I work hard every day on practicing their human ones.

Here is John’s reaction to the tragedy:

A dozen passers-by stopped to help, including a young soldier from Spokane, an off-duty Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputy, and those who comforted the crying Holschen children on the roadside.

“I understand that Mr. Swett is very uncomfortable with the idea that he might be considered a hero,” Holschen said, breaking down as he noted that Swett came close enough to the blaze to sustain burns. “If he had not done that, we would be mourning the loss of more family members.”

Juliann Odom, 22, of Bellevue, was driving the Ford Explorer that hit the Holschens’ car, also injuring Keegan Holschen, 9, and Jake Holschen, 12, as well as a Toyota pickup with two men inside, who sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to local hospitals.

John Holschen said he was choosing not to make any conclusions about Odom’s actions.

“Maybe she swerved to avoid another accident,” he said. “My focus is on my family and on making them better.”

He thanked friends and community members who’d tried to ease the burden on his family as he’s been “on a bit of a racetrack, from the intensive-care unit, to the ward where my wife is, to my sons, who although their injuries were not at severe have been through a really rough time.”

I can’t believe that in his situation, I could be as open and positive. I’m using this public platform both to ask for your help for John and his family, to publicly express my admiration for him, and to share my sympathy for his unimaginable loss.

*post edited to remove something unnecessary that I wrote.

10 thoughts on “We Just Came Home To Some Awful News.”

  1. A.L., thank you for making this public – do we need to send checks to the address you’ve given, or will there be a PayPal account in the near future?

    Engineer-Poet – how’s about we try to maintain the same level of high-mindedness that the man most affected by the accident has managed, and not go shooting our mouths (or keyboards) off about an accident we have so few details of? We do no service to the survivors, nor honor to the deceased, by seeking to apportion blame.

  2. I also carry a 50’length of 3/8″ braided dacron line. It saved my bacon when I was caught in a flooded underpass–a passing semi towed me out.

  3. Thank you for your post.

    I would say that you have captured John’s character and nature as well as anyone could have. I am sure that he will appreciate (as I do) your efforts on behalf of him and his family. Thank you.

  4. What a tragedy. This past year I traded emails with Mr. Holschen, hoping to host one of his courses at a local shooting club.

    Engineer-Poet, you’re a real punk.

  5. AL:

    Thanks for posting about this tragedy. I hope your readers will help the family.

    A small note — was it really appropriate to slam Kos in this post? Kos deserved the condemnation he received for his comment, but that was months ago. Judging by your description of Mr. Holschen, I doubt he’d want the death of his daughter used an excuse to attack somebody.

    Just my plea for a little more civility. Keep up the good work.

  6. I was a friend of Mr. Holschen’s daughter who passed away in the accident (as well as her sister), and I cannot express how much this shook me up. I know I was really saddened by her passing, but I cannot even begin to understand what her family is going through. Its truely amazing how they’ve been handling this tough situation.

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