Her life was falling into place, when, on Sept. 2, at only 18 years old, Keely died in a car crash.
In her honor, her community created and held the Keely Lance Scholarship Memorial Rodeo. People donated $15,000 in her name and the money will go toward 4H, Special Olympics and Miss Teen Rodeo Idaho. An academic scholarship is also planned, and the community is hoping to make the rodeo an annual event.
Why would a community go through so much effort to honor and remember an 18-year-old? It was because her life made an impact, and they recognized that and wanted to continue it.
In just 18 years, Keely had figured out it isn't necessarily about how many hobbies or activities one is involved in, but about interactions with people. She cared about everyone she came in contact with and devoted herself to making others' lives better.
This is why she left a deeper mark on this world than most people do with 70 years. She invested her time to teach and care for others in a way that their lives were changed significantly. Those people will never forget her, and because of her example, they and countless more are inspired to continue her work of helping others.
So, even after her death, Keely Lance will continue to change the lives of people she will never meet, through the rodeo and other scholarships her community established in her name. Her memory will live forever because in addition to taking care of herself, her life was about reaching out to people.
That, to me, sounds like a pretty successful life, and Keely's example is one I will aim to follow. In the middle of my anxious thoughts, Keely's story was a reminder that God's commandment to love your neighbor as yourself is an important part of how to make your mark on the world.
McComas is a Gazette editor and may be reached at emilyay...@wvgazette.com