Amish Sympathy Cards

You’ve probably heard about the accident in a Kentucky Amish community last Thursday.  Flash flooding in a normally passable creek caused a crossing buggy to overturn.  Four children, ranging in age from 5 months to 11 years, were swept away and drowned.

The Amish community, in Graves County in western Kentucky, has suffered a difficult loss.  One hopes the parents take some bittersweet comfort at the thought of where their children might now be.

And no doubt the burdens of the two families will be eased in coming days by their extended families and community.

One traditional way that Amish aid one another is by sending sympathy and support cards.  You often see notes in Amish periodicals urging readers to send cards to individuals dealing with death or illness.  Amish “shower” others–sometimes, essentially, strangers–with love in the form of letters, goods, and other donations.

Perhaps the greatest example occurred after the Nickel Mines school shootings.  Sympathy cards appear on a few occasions in Amish Grace, the account of the 2006 tragedy and the forgiveness that followed.

As you’d expect, many of the cards sent after the killings came from Amish.  Still more poured in from elsewhere:  “The Bart Post Office received thousands of cards, letter, checks, and gifts from around the world.  Some letters arrived with only a simple address: “Amish Families of Nickel Mines, USA”…One Amish family received about twenty-five hundred letters” (Amish Grace, p. 30).

On Friday Mary Brandenburg, who sometimes comments on this blog, wrote with a question after learning of the Kentucky Amish deaths.  Mary wondered if I knew of a way of contacting the families.

I did not at the time, but one report I’ve just read mentions the Shamrock Restaurant in the nearby town of Dublin as an impromptu center receiving mail and donations.

The address for the Shamrock is given as 6237 State Route 339 S., Mayfield, Ky. 42066.  Cards, checks, or other items can be sent to Emanuel Wagler (father of 3 of the children) in care of Cassie Hammonds at the restaurant.

The families are certain to receive an outpouring of support from both within and outside their community in the coming days, weeks, and months.  One article this morning reports that 1,000 Amish are expected to come to Kentucky for the funeral today.

Cards won’t change what happened, but like visits, prayers, and other kindnesses, will hopefully ease the families’ pain at this difficult time.

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    1. Lisa Brown

      Thank you so much. I wondered the same.

    2. Marilyn in New York

      Thank you for giving us an address where we can send them a sympathy card. It’s just to let them know they are now going through this alone. That even though we don’t know them personaly they are in our thoughts and prayers.

    3. Marilyn in New York

      I should re-read better before I put items on here. What I ment to say it: It’s just to let them know they are NOT going through this alone.

    4. Alison

      Thank you for posting this information. I will be sending something. God bless the families who have lost such precious children.

    5. Alice Aber

      Thank you Erik!! I will be sending a card as well along with much love and prayers.

      Blessings, Alice

    6. Richard

      Thank you Erik for providing a contact to everyone .And im sure their community Amish and non Amish is pulling all together during this very sad time. Its always extremely sad when accidents like this happens when it involves a buggy with an adult, but when it includes children it makes it that more devastating and tragic to me.My heart is with the family, and im very sorry for their loss. Richard. Lebanon,pa

    7. Rhonda

      Erik, thank you for sharing this. It was heart-wrenching to learn of this tragedy. I will share this with others I know whom are also concerned. We’re all praying for these families.

    8. Thanks Erik. People want to help and you’ve given us a way to do that.

    9. Mary Brandenburg

      Erik, thanks for posting this – I’ll get a card in the mail to them a.s.a.p. I know from visiting with my friend “Mary” in Mt. Hope after she had her knee replacement done, a “shower” is a powerful thing in the lives of the Amish. It truly fills their days with love, prayers and random acts of kindness! Take care and be safe, wherever you are today!

    10. Jan Cason

      Thank you for the address. Your article today makes me feel more comfortable in offering my condolences.
      I envision the events of that dreadful night and know I cannot begin to imagine the depth of fear each of them lived out during their horrific tragedy.
      I have been grieving for them ever since.
      I catch myself wondering how the parents are coping every passing day.

    11. It’s really nice to hear that so many of you might put that address to use. I am going to try to get a card out from here in Poland tomorrow.

    12. sherry

      Thanks Erik for keeping us updated I want to send Elizabeth the 11 year old parents a card also Samuel and Iva wagler.If any one wants to read more they can get on the only thing my heart sank when i saw the picture of the buggy and Elizabeth clothing there is also a video a reported is talking about what happen.

    13. Amy

      Thank you all for remembering these families. This has truly been a hard time here in Graves County. We have Amish friends and I do know they will appreciate your prayers and concerns. They are very privite people but they are good people. We think a lot of our Amish friendships. My heart is heavy for these famlies and the community itself. I am thankful so many near and far have opened their hearts to these parents. Please continue to pray for God’s comfort for them in the coming days when everyone leaves and it is just them there in their homes alone for the first time since this awful tragedy.

    14. Bob Rosier

      Thanks Erik. I was looking for an address. I am sending cards and donations today.

      We need to also rememeber the family of Elizabeth Wagler, the cousin. I sent them a card to the same Shamrock Restaurant address.

      I have always said that loosing a child would be the hardeset thing that could happen.

    15. George

      Thanks Erik! I was wondering who I could write to.
      I will send the father of the 3 a card and will certainly pray for them.
      I feel so much better now that I finally have an address to send my card to, may God bless you!

    16. My prayers go out to the family. I heard this on SOS Radio here in Las Vegas, Nv.(Christian Station) I couldn’t believe this. I hope the family know we who are not Amish, have heart and feelings for them. God is here for us all and we are sadden that the children were taken to early. God Bless the families.. Liz

    17. Monica

      My prayers also go out to both of the families at the loss of their children