By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer
Two young men killed in a pickup wreck in June will be honored at memorials Monday.
Paul Blevins Jr., 19, and Michael Rogers, 14, were killed when they were ejected from the back of a pickup they were riding in June 15 near Lake Tenkiller.
At 7 p.m. Monday, balloons will be released for Paul Blevins Jr., 19, on Earl Street in Tahlequah, said his mother, Darlene.
He was a 2012 graduate of Tahlequah High School and a student at Talking Leaves Job Corps, she said.
“We called him ‘Little Paul’ because his daddy is Paul Sr.,” she said, sobbing. “He was taking medical assistant classes. He was so happy and so proud, and we were proud for him.”
Family and friends plan to release blue and white balloons in the young man’s honor. Others are welcome to join, Darlene Blevins said, but she wants it to be a positive experience for everyone.
“His friends and people who want to be supportive can come,” she said. “But we don’t want people there that are going to judge our son for the mistake he made that caused his death. Because we’ve had people say crude things. That really tore me up.”
Her son loved the music of Kid Cudi, so it will be played at the balloon release, she said.
“He would tell me ‘Mom, Kid Cudi knows everything about life. Don’t judge Kid Cudi. He’s so cool,’” she said. “And ever since he passed away we have listened to the music, to the lyrics, and he does talk a lot about life and even sang about death. My son loved his music.”
At the same time Monday in Chesterfield, Mich., Chinese lanterns will be released for Michael Rogers, 14, she said.
Michael had completed his freshman year at Anchor Bay High School in Chesterfield, according to his obituary. He enjoyed biking and video games and loved music. Michael had four siblings.
His mother couldn’t be reached for comment, but Darlene Blevins said they’ve been keeping in close contact since their sons died.
The victims probably didn’t know each other well, she said.
“I think Paul and Michael had just met. Other kids who were there that night said they were all laughing, just having fun and enjoying themselves together in the back of that truck,” she said. “I guess they just didn’t realize the danger ahead of them.”
Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or email@example.com.
If you go
WHAT: Balloon release in memory of Paul Blevins Jr., 19, who died June 15.
WHERE: On Earl Street in Tahlequah.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday.