Becker shares horror story about his brother’s death
LAUREL — Teens today are faced with the constant temptations of drinking, partying, sexual promiscuity, pornography and other destructive lifestyles.
They also deal with peer pressure and the constant drive to be popular. Many teens face these challenges without good support and come from broken and unstable home environments.
Area residents got a glimpse of the hardships students are up against when United Lutheran Church and Concord Evangelical Free Church came together to assist LCC students at this time in their life.
The Todd Becker Foundation of Kearney put on a presentation Dec. 12 in front of a packed gym full of LCC and Wynot high school students.
The talk featured a powerful and life changing true story about choices.
Keith Becker, the brother of Todd, told a very tragic story that happened Feb. 6, 2005 in Kearney.
The assembly began with live music from the touring band “Chye,” encouraging involvement from the student body. The music ended with a musician turning a back-flip in the middle of strobe lights while the crowd roared.
Becker said his brother was an outstanding athlete in football, track and baseball. He himself, wasn’t involved in any sports.
A large picture of his brother projected onto the screen. He said everyone can relate to this senior picture.
Then a large picture of a coffin with his brother’s photo appeared in the front at the funeral. Keith said his brother was 18 years old when he died. “There isn’t anything unique about how he died. The im- portant information is how he lived and why he is in the cemetery,” he said.
Becker took the audience back before his brother died. Todd was working at a grocery store on a Sun- day afternoon. There was a man and wife who just left their church where they had been challenged to go and make a difference in another person’s life. Last minute, the couple decided to stop at the store. As the man entered the frozen food aisle, there was Keith’s brother Todd. The man felt a heaviness in his heart guiding him to talk to Todd.
The two talked and Todd told the man that he had no idea where he was going in life. He also did not know where he would go if he died. The two men never met again.
Newspaper clippings appeared on the screen, “Sunday crash kills, charges filed in teen’s death.”
Keith Becker said his brother thought his choices could never have consequences. He believed he was too young to die.
Becker then backed up one month before his brother’s death. His brother and two of his track friends were drinking beer and driving home when they were busted. Todd received a DUI and the oth- ers received minor in possession.
The following day, the boy’s track coach sat them down and explained how for the last 11 years he has won the track state championship, which is the longest streak in the U.S. He continued to tell them he didn’t care about winning the 12th year but he did care about where they were headed. He told them if he ever heard of them being anywhere near a party they all would be removed from the track team. Todd promised the coach it wouldn’t happen. Todd was a state qualifying pole vaulter with a chance for scholarships.
Todd was grounded from all activities for three weeks. He was able to handle staying home for two weeks, but as the third weekend came, Todd called his friends and said this is the last weekend before track starts and encouraged them to go out. He begged his parents to let him go out, and this eventually ended with his parents fighting and Todd left without their permission.
The next image on the big screen showed the liquor store footage of Todd buying beer with a fake ID. The clerk didn’t ask to see his ID and he walked out with the beer.
Todd drove off to a party with friends. That party was busted by police and he and his friends slipped out to another party.
At this point in the assembly, the gym was so silent, you could have heard a pin drop.
At 12:20 a.m. Todd told his friends he’d better get home, but he couldn’t drive, so his friends got into the car and drove off and Todd buckled his seat-belt in the back seat.
At 12:27 a.m. three boys cruising down the highway, radio cranked to AC/DC Highway to Hell when the driver missed the turn.
Four years of rebellion had finally caught up with them.
When the car crashed, the two friends jumped out of the car and started to run. Then they decided they couldn’t leave their friend and came back and tried CPR.
The next picture up on the screen shows a newspaper clipping of the funeral with pallbearers carrying the casket. Over 1,000 people attended that funeral.
Keith Becker said he was so angry, he couldn’t sleep. At 2 a.m. he would get up and run to the cemetery. He blamed the clerk who sold his brother alcohol and Todd’s drunk friends. He explained the story didn’t just start in the last few months, he took the audience back four years.
Keith Becker stood at the west side of the stage, and said he would start back when Todd was a freshman. He said to imagine he is on the narrow road of making good choices.
Becker told how Todd’s first step off the narrow road was in a motel room in Wyoming with the baseball team one night. A friend introduced Todd to pornography.
His sophomore year Todd saw beer commercials that told the lies with drinking beer and getting pretty girls and he decided to drink one beer because he thought it wouldn’t hurt.
His junior year, he had a girlfriend he had dated for two years and they had promised to be pure together and wait for their wedding night.
Keith Becker, as he tells this story, continues to move across the stage in front of the students explaining how he is walking more and more down the road of destruction and pulling his girlfriend along. Todd’s experience with pornography and drink- ing is increasing.
He tells his girlfriend he loves her and as long as they are in love, it’s okay and they broke their promise of celibacy as both had drank too much.
Two weeks into his senior year, he kicked her to the curb, increased his drinking full throttle, smok- ing marijuana, and finding many girls to sleep with.
The silence continued as Becker said, “Todd was a son, brother and friend. He had so much potential and it ended in the ground.”
He told the students that the choice to take the narrow road will be difficult, they will lose friends, but will gain life.
The last video shown about Todd dying asked the question what if this happens to you?
Becker changes the talk and goes deeper into who was to blame for his younger brother’s death. He revealed to the crowd it was him. He continually told Todd to get a fake ID, told him not to wait for marriage with sex, asked him to party with him and told him, “This is life, live it up.”
Becker confessed because his little brother followed him, he had to live with the fact the night Todd was killed, he had been drinking with him.
When he heard about the accident, he went to the scene. He talked about how it was extremely loud at the accident scene and was told by police officers not to cross the barricade.
Becker described how it became so silent in his head, that all he heard was the voice of his brother saying, “Keith, why am I dead?”
At that moment in time, Keith Becker decided to go back on to that narrow road. As he tried, he felt like he hit a brick wall. He eventually realized it was because of the bitterness he had due to the death of his brother. His bitterness was toward the others, not himself.
Keith Becker said bitterness will kill. He said he heard a voice asking him what role did he play in his brother’s death. He felt his life was over until he found hope in forgiveness. He told how forgiveness is never deserved but freely given. He said, “Your past does not have to define your future.”
He told the students that there is so much hate and unforgiveness in the schools. He said he forgave because he needed to do it and don’t wait for Monday, because it never comes.
"Don't believe the dangerous lies, it’s never too late to change.” His brother believed the lies and he wasted his life.
That evening Becker spoke to a packed gym.
The audience heard how God took Becker’s life after the night of Todd’s death and set him on the narrow road.
Satan is a destroyer, deceiver and distractor and does not want people to know about the free gift from God. Becker said, “There is a heaven and a hell, where will you go if you die?” He said, we will all face death one day.
He talked about how the minister at his brother’s funeral talked about his brother going to heaven. Becker said he doesn’t know where his brother was but he knows you can’t fool God. You can’t live like hell and still get to heaven. Becker came into contact with a pastor.
Becker had not been raised in a Christian home, but his parents taught us what was right and wrong. He felt this minister was harsh at times and Becker was struggling.
Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
He made many excuses and would say he wasn’t as bad as someone else that was sinning.
The pastor explained sin to him. He told him to not compare himself to others and sin was still a sin. He realized that he was still playing games when God removed the blindness from his eyes. At this point he became totally committed to God.
He encouraged the audience to turn away from their sins. He said you can’t be good enough for God. You have to have Jesus. Jesus paid the cost for our sins, and if God is big enough to raise Jesus from the dead, he can help anyone.
Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
Becker told a story about just because he sat in his garage one night sounding like a car, it did not make him a car. Just because you go to church, it doesn’t make you a Christian. The only way to become a Christian is to come to Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17, says ”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here.”
Becker said after meeting with the pastor and learning who God was, he decided he didn’t want to die and wanted to go to heaven.
He said he fell to his knees and prayed to God. He knew he needed a savior and his sins were forgiven. He encouraged the audience to surrender their life to Jesus if they did not have a relationship with God.
Encouraged them to make Jesus the center of their life.