Letter: It takes a village and our village failed Will Graham | AspenTimes.com

Letter: It takes a village and our village failed Will Graham

I have known Will Graham and his family for more than 20 years. I met the Graham family when I became Will’s hockey coach when he was 10 years old. As he continued to grow up, I continued to coach and watched him grow up to be a man. I was fortunate enough to be his high school hockey coach at Aspen High School, and he was one of my favorite players that I have ever coached in my 20-plus-year coaching career. He was a great athlete and an even better teammate. He always had his teammate’s back and was always very supportive of his Aspen teammates.

This loss for his parents — Billy and Geraldine and his brother Wes — is enormous and my heart goes out to them. They have lost a beautiful son and brother.

I witnessed Will’s struggles with the courts firsthand. I stood up in front of Judge J.E. DeVilbiss’ courtroom on Will’s behalf, testifying to Will’s great character and friendship. I will continue to do so. He was a truly sweet and kind soul and the kind of kid that the city of Aspen could be proud of.

For The Aspen Times not to know this about this young man is an insult to our village.

We are supposed to protect our children when they are in trouble. Will was in trouble and he needed support, but instead he got caught in the justice system, which just damaged his self-esteem even further. This whole tragic event sickens me, saddens me and it is a real loss for the community of Aspen.

I am extremely upset that The Aspen Times chose to print a mug shot of Will when they just as easily could have printed his high school graduation picture — a time of great happiness for the Graham family celebrating Will’s accomplishments.

I truly am sorry Will. We were not there for you when you were hurting, and you were always there for others when they were hurting.

Mark LeRose