Carol Adler knew that her son was destined for greatness when he shared his “list” of things he wanted to accomplish in his lifetime. Although it scared her, as his mother she could not stop herself from supporting him 100%. She knew his life would be dangerous, but she knew that he was doing everything out of the goodness of his heart. That’s just who he was. “People were drawn to him,” she said.
So when she texted his old phone number out of sheer heartbreak, she was stunned to receive a text back, weeks after he was killed.
His list contained a few things that most of us would put on ours as well, with a few surprising exceptions. Taylor had big dreams, and he was setting out to accomplish each and every one. Even in death, he managed to cross two off of his list. While he might not ever know it, he saved more than just one life that day.
1. Join the Army and be the best that I can be
2. Go bungee jumping
3. Get married
4. Start a family
5. Buy an English Bull Dog and name him Diesel
6. Swim with sharks
7. Visit Hawaii
8. Visit the tribe I am from (Saquangue Lakota Oyate)
9. Save a life
10. Coach a Lacrosse team
11. Graduate high school
12. Get a masters part time in the military
13. Get a job
24. Be the best man, husband, son, soldier, and friend as there is possible
Carol Adler was a single mom who devoted her life to ensuring that her son would be successful. Although she was nervous about the things he wanted to do in life, she never stopped him or tried to get in his way. When he wanted to join the military, she knew that he was fulfilling his life’s goals.
When it was time for Taylor to get a job (# 13), he told her that his dream career was to become a State Trooper. He became a cadet and started the process to protect and serve everyone under the law. It was a dangerous job, but it was what Taylor wanted to do more than anything.
Everything changed on May 23, 2015. While investigating a crash, Taylor and Trooper Clinton Rushing were notified of a high-speed chase that was coming towards their location. They laid out stop sticks to halt the speeding vehicle, just like they had trained for dozens of times. But they didn’t stop the driver. Instead, he crashed into the both of the officers, and Taylor died at the scene.
But Taylor did one thing before he died. He warned a tow-truck driver to get out of the way when he realized how dangerous the situation was about to become, saving his life. Taylor is a hero, and with this final act, he was able to cross another accomplishment off of his list.
But this story doesn’t end with Taylor’s death! His mother sent texts to his number whenever she wanted to feel close to him. They were small texts, usually short and sweet, telling him that she loved him, missed him, or small things throughout the days just to get by. Then one day, she couldn’t handle it anymore. She sent a personal, heartfelt text to her son’s old number, grieving and morning the loss of her only son.
Roughly 30 minutes after she sent that text, her phone lit up, telling her that she had an unread message. Her heart stopped for a moment when the name on the screen was her son’s. How could her son have possibly replied to her message? He had been dead for weeks!
Once she read it, she couldn’t keep the tears from falling. A Veteran State Trooper who now worked at the Greeley Police Department responded to her text. He let her know who he was and that her texts were going to the wrong number. She explained what she was doing, and to her surprise, Sgt. Hulsey knew about Taylor and related to her tragedy. He had lived the years doing the job that Taylor had dreamed of doing.
He offered to give up the number, but she insisted that he keep it. They still text on occasion, and while this mother’s grieving is ongoing, she can find a bit of peace every day knowing that her son was honored, respected, and most of all, a hero.
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