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Berringer's mother thanks Nebraskans

(c) 1996 Copyright Nando.net
(c) 1996 Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (Apr 25, 1996 - 19:36 EST) -- Brook Berringer's mother thanked Nebraskans on Thursday for sharing in the joys and sorrows of the life of her son.

Jan Berringer spoke at the Nebraska football offices in Memorial Stadium, where Brook Berringer, a backup quarterback, helped the Cornhuskers win consecutive national championships.

The school teacher from Goodland, Kan., said she was overwhelmed by the support from people in Nebraska and across the country following her son's death in a plane crash April 18.

"Knowing that others too share my family's grief and pain helps us get through these difficult days," she said, reading a statement, while her daughter, Drue, a freshman at Kansas State, sat beside her. Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne stood nearby.

"Brook didn't get his public speaking ability from me," Jan Berringer said. "It's difficult for me to do this today, but I know how many lives Brook touched. I shared his life and aspirations with the public through you, the media, and now I want to take this opportunity to thank you and share my appreciation for the love and compassion others are demonstrating."

Brook Berringer and Tobey Lake were killed when the Piper Cub that Berringer was piloting crashed in an alfalfa field northwest of Lincoln.

Jan Berringer said the family was overwhelmed to learn that Nebraskans were driving with their headlights on and flags were being flown at half-staff.

"School children have been sending me letters they've written and pictures they've drawn," she said, showing a drawing of two people tossing a football under a tree. "That's Brook and his dad in heaven."

The drawing was based on remarks that Nebraska quarterback coach Turner Gill made at Brook's funeral. He talked of Berringer and his dad -- who died when Brook was 7 -- sitting under a tree together in heaven.

"I would love to continue hearing people's stories and anecdotes of their experiences with Brook," she said. "Don't hesitate to talk to us about him just because you are afraid it will make us cry."

Osborne said he hoped money gathered for admission to a canceled national championship celebration could be used at her discretion.

"She has lived and worked for 15 years since her husband died and she has worked three jobs just to keep kids in college," he said.

The country band Sawyer Brown was to have performed at that Lincoln event and Brook Berringer was going to sing with the group.

At Wednesday's country music awards in Los Angeles, band member Mark Miller wore a red and white football jersey with Berringer's No. 18, and talked about his late friend.