By Bob Fabian
Christmas for Carol Lang is a story of losing a granddaughter. Thanks to many Floyd community members, it’s also a story of how people come together for those in need.
One of Lang’s 13 grandchildren, Ashely Renee Goar of Ruidoso, was born with congenital heart disease — Lang said Goar was born with literally half a heart.
Lang is a music teacher at Floyd Schools. While Lang was working on a music program at school on Dec. 3 she received a call in front of faculty and students. Goar had gone into cardiac arrest.
The news struck seemingly everyone in the room and within 20 minutes the staff of Floyd Schools raised more $600 for traveling expenses so Lang could make it to Albuquerque Presbyterian Hospital, where Goar was being treated.
The donation proved valuable for Lang. Goar had been in and out of the hospital since June of this year and the traveling was starting to take a toll on Lang’s pocketbook and spirit. Lang spent 19 days in June in Albuquerque and made about a dozen trips for her granddaughter.
Lang stayed at the hospital until Ashley Goar’s parents, Dewayne and Darla Goar, made a decision to stop life support on Dec. 5. By that point, Ashley was clinically brain dead.
Lang commented on the surprising beauty of the situation. She noted that they dressed Goar in pajamas and everyone in attendence had a special moment with her before breathing tubes were removed.
“It was handled in such a beautiful way.” Lang said.
Lang said that even Goar’s doctors and nurses cried, knowing they did all they could.
“At some point we’re [all] human, that’s just a fact of life,” Lang said. “You’re kind of numb at that point. It was heart breaking watching my kids, but they were strong, I admire them.”
With so much tragedy surrounding her family, Lang found relief from friends in the community. Lang said that she received visits from Floyd Superintendent Dr. McCullar, school board member Lisa Schmidt and several parents from Floyd.
The community presence was felt at the funeral as well, where more than five dozen roses were collected from faculty, students and school board members.
When Lang came home even more love was given. On December 16, Sheri Chenault, a teacher at Floyd Schools, said they would like to help clean Lang’s yard and home. Lang expected to see a few children, but to her astonishment about 100 Floyd students came to her house to clean the yard, kitchen and living room. Children Lang had never even taught joined in the effort.
Lang noted that the gesture helped her, and she hoped the students really got something out of it as well.
“Some of the kids felt what they did was the best thing they’d done in their life.” Lang said. “I’ve been changing lives (as a teacher) but they have the ability to change mine.”
Without Lang’s knowledge, Sheri Chenault and Don Bilbrey wrote an e-mail to local radio station Mix 107.5 suggesting Lang for a Secret Santa giveaway that the station was doing.
The giveaway, which was for people that couldn’t have Christmas, had raised around $20,000 in donations and thanks to the e-mail, Lang was slated to receive a part of those donations.
All told Lang’s family has received 50-60 packages, $1,000 and a gold locket that will house a picture of Ashley. The family also received a turkey from the Rib Crib for Christmas Day and a check for $455 from parent donations.
“It’s just been ongoing,” Lang said. “It says a whole lot about the goodness of people. It’s not like they said, ‘OK, we’ve done enough.’”
According to Lang, the family has also taken up around $8,500 for funeral expenses from the community of Ruidoso. There were approximately 658 at the funeral and a fund for Goar has been started at Citizens Bank in Ruidoso.
“We lost a little angel for Christmas,” Lang said, “(but) in the midst of the sorrow there’s been lives touched and changed.”