Lutz: It only takes 1 bad decision

Published 12:10 am Thursday, September 10, 2015

Shown is the crowd of around 400 who gathered to listen to Lutzenkirchen last night.

Shown is the crowd of around 400 who gathered to listen to Lutzenkirchen last night.

A moment’s bad decision can undo a lifetime of good.

That’s the message Mike Lutzenkirchen delivered to nearly 400 people gathered in the Family Life Center at Southside Baptist Church Wednesday night for National Recovery Month

Mike Lutzenkirchen talked about his son, Phillip, who was a four-year football letterman at Auburn University before he lost his life a single-vehicle accident just over a year ago.

The four passengers in the car had been heavily consuming alcohol throughout the day before making the decision to go to the store at 2 a.m.

Phillip’s father, Mike, spoke to the crowd about Phillip’s life leading up to the accident, and what a remarkable person he was. His stressed to the crowd the importance of the decisions that they make daily.

He directed most of his talk to the younger members in the audience, and the decisions and choices that they face.

Mike talked about how Phillip dedicated his life to making others happy.

He talked about a story from Phillip’s senior year in high school, when he told a girl named Casey, who was born with Down Syndrome, that he would take her to prom. Phillip ended up having to attend an awards ceremony on the night of prom and was unable to take Casey. The next year, during his freshman year at Auburn, Phillip sustained a concussion, but insisted his dad drive him back home to Georgia so that he could take Casey to prom.

It was an example of how Phillip made himself available to people.

In another example, Phillip put off heading down to Panama City Beach for spring break with his teammates to drive back to Georgia to visit with a young lady who had been diagnosed with cancer.

“He put off going to spring break with his friends to spend a little time with her,” Mike said. “Here he is at 21 years old talking to this little girl about what she is going through. She was worried about how she would look after a surgery that would have to amputate her right leg above the knee. She had options, but both called for amputation. One, however, would allow her to continue playing sports, but she was worried about how she would look. I learned later from her father that they decided to do the radical surgery, so she could still play sports because of what Phillip said to her. She told me that Phillip didn’t say much he just said ‘Who cares what people think.’”

Mike told a story about the only time that Phillip was ever disciplined as a member of the Auburn Tiger football team. Phillip showed up late to practice one day and wouldn’t tell the coaches why he was late, so he had to push a three-foot 2×4 from sideline to sideline. Phillip was late for practice that day because he made a trip from Auburn to Birmingham to visit children at St. Vincent’s Children’s Hospital.

Mike then got into the details of Phillip’s tragic death and warned of the dangers of alcohol abuse.

He told the kids that they needed to be great friends to each other and not just good friends.

“Phillip and those guys were good friends that day,” Mike said. “The difference between good friends and great friends is a good friend goes on the ride with and a great friend tells you to get out of the car.”

The point of Mike’s speech was to show that one decision can carry heavy consequences, even if you are a good person.

“Phillip was a model citizen,” Mike said. “That didn’t matter that night. The decisions they made in a 24-hour span cost him and one other boy their lives.”