ODESSA, Texas (FOX 24) – A local mother is talking about forgiveness while dealing with grief. Her son was killed by a drunk driver when he was a teenager. Now, she’s hoping to help others.
“It’s bittersweet. I’m just so thankful for all the memories that we have and it just shows a little bit of his awesomeness, just a little bit of it,” said Tera Crossland, N.A.T.E. Foundation founder.
She shared with us pictures of happier times.
“That is my baby and I miss everything about him. He was so ambitious,” said Crossland. “He wanted to be an engineer and that’s absolutely what he would have done.”
The Odessa mother remembers her son, especially for his kindness.
“I literally have videos of weeks before my baby was killed giving to the homeless, he was just so full of life,” said Crossland. “It was all ripped from him because of poor choices.”
The deadly crash happened October 1st of 2017.
“I call him and his phone goes to voice mail, goes to voice mail.”
Nate Silvas, 16-years-old, and his girlfriend were hit by a drunk driver who police say was also under the influence of drugs.
“I get a call not even 20 minutes later from an officer, that asks me if I was his mother and I said yes. He said I need you to get to the hospital immediately,” said Crossland. “I remember we were driving down 385 and I could see the ambulances, the fire trucks, and the police cars.”
She goes on in tears and says, “We get there and they still had him in the emergency room. They had been working on him and I went in there. I knew right then that my baby was holding on for me. But I knew that God already had him in heaven with him.”
The Basin mother’s grief has now turned into a mission. She started the N.A.T.E. Foundation. It stands for need advice talk experiences.
“We have a choice in everything we do in life, I don’t have a choice to get my baby back,” said Crossland. “But I have a choice to wake up every morning and make a difference in this world so that nobody experiences this.”
The owl is the nonprofit’s symbol.
She says, “wisdom, strength, you know as the wise owl says.”
Nate, who was a Permian High School student, had an owl tattoo on his chest.
“In December of 2017, I look out across the street and the field in front of my house and it’s a completely open field, no trees, just mosquitos, and raw land. There’s an owl just flying back and forth, back and forth. He was just screaming from the rooftops, mom I am okay. This was not even a month after my baby went to heaven.”
Crossland also talked about forgiveness.
“I am growing in my faith and I forgive him,” said Crossland as her tears continue. “I forgive him and I know God does too. But the anger, and the what if’s, and everything else that comes with grief doesn’t stop just because you forgive. They do make things a little bit easier.”
Her pain is still evident.
“By the grace of God, myself and many others are able to tell our stories in hopes of saving others’ lives. That is my ultimate goal is to make sure that no one ever goes through the heartache that we go through every single day,” said Crossland.
She says the drunk driver responsible for killing her son also died in that crash and left behind a child. The Basin woman works tirelessly to spread the message about the dangers of drinking and driving.
On Saturday, Trinity Family Medicine in Odessa will partner with the N.A.T.E. Foundation and host a health and wellness day. It will take place at 6100 Eastridge Road from 11 am until 4 pm. The event will have activities for the whole family and the proceeds will benefit the N.A.T.E. Foundation.