Austin and Justin Nolan
Austin (9) and Justin (7) were “Irish Twins” born just 20 months apart. They were best buddies and looked a lot alike. They were sweet, smart, quiet kids who had a lot of friends. They both loved playing sports. Austin was very good in sports and was chosen to play on the older kids teams in soccer and baseball. Austin also loved being outside working with his Dad on the farm. Justin really liked animals and especially liked little kittens. He loved to draw and paint as well. The boys were always together and loved the outdoors. They liked helping out with the gardening and picking berries. They also looked forward every spring to hunting for morel mushrooms.
It was August 23rd, 2005. It was a warm sunny day and summer was about to end. School was to start in a week. That day the boys picked grapes at Grandma’s house and brought them home. They also climbed up our apple tree and picked a big bag of apples to have me bake them a pie. It was about 5:30 p.m. and the boys were playing football in our front yard……..they decided to hop on our adult sized ATV to find their father in a nearby field. They had to cross a major highway to get to one of our other farms and had only done this one other time, which was the day before. They found their father and he was finishing up chopping hay in the field and was on his way back to our farm to milk cows. The boys followed him out the road and had to cross the highway again to get back home. They did what their father told them to do and took the short cut across so not to ride in the steep ditch. They couldn’t see a truck pulling a horse trailer coming and were struck as they attempted to cross. My husband was there and tried to do what he could. They boys went really fast. I was brought to the site shortly after and upon arrival the first thing I saw were their boots strung out on the highway. I knew then that something happened terrible and looked over to see a white sheet covering my little babies. They were just little boys and they were taken from us.
That same exact day I scolded the boys for riding the ATV and took the key away from them. It was a constant battle around our farm. I also instructed the farm help not to let the boys take the ATV. The hired farm hand went to get the cows for milking and he apparently left the key in the ATV and that is where the boys found it and took off. ATV’s are not for kids. Children are also killed on the child sized ATV’s. If you are thinking about purchasing an ATV please think about the families who lost their children with these machines. They are not toys and should never be treated as toys.
Since our boys' death we have raised money for a playground at their school. It is beautiful and the boys would’ve loved to be able to play on it. We would love to be able to send back the playground and get our sons back, but it is not possible. To those families who think this can’t happen to your children….think again…. It can…. and then it is too late. We will forever hold a dark cloud over our heads. Our lives have been shattered.
John & Carrie Nolan
Prairie du Chien, WI
Austin & Justin Nolan are buried at St. Gabriel's Church Cemetary in Prairie du Chien, WI. And the Playground that was built in their memory is at their school which is located just across the street. Our little Angels Austin & Justin keep watch over the Playground and are smiling down at us.