Yes, Jacob, we do need some help today

One can just imagine 19-year-old Jacob Oaks walking over to a person whose car was sitting disabled in the early morning chill of Dec. 12 and saying, “Do you need help?”

He gave the person his cellphone, and waited. 

As he waited in his truck, he knew it was getting late - 1 a.m. - and he still had miles to go before he could sleep. The disabled car was there on the roadside of I-385 in northern Laurens County. Its driver was there. Jacobs’ truck was there. Jacob was inside. 

Then, suddenly, a third vehicle was there. Jacob died at the scene.

Without getting into what happened and why, something to be sorted out by investigators, the young life of Jacob Robert Oaks, of Greer, ended right then. First responders and the coroners personnel of Laurens County came to his aid, and then pronounced him dead.

Every parent’s worst nightmare followed. The call no one wants to get. Two weeks before Christmas, 2016.

“Do you need help?” Yes, Jacob, we all need help right now trying to understand why this would happen.

His sister, Kaitlyn, said, "Jacob was known by many as the quiet type but by his closest family and friends he was the goofiest most outgoing, kind-hearted person. The best brother and son any family could've ever asked for. He was always wanting to help other people and God took him doing what Jacob loved to do, helping others. We'll always hold onto the memory of his kind heart. We have a peace knowing that God is looking at Jacob right now and he's saying well-done good and faithful servant."

Oaks and his sisters graduated from Southside Christian School, where their mother works. Jacob played baseball.

"It's a rough day at Southside Christian, but we have a great hope in Jesus Christ," said superintendent Dr. Sam Barfell. "Jacob was a young man of faith. He knew Christ as his savior and we have a great hope that he's in the presence of his heavenly father right now."

Jacob apparently was planning to try out again for the College of Charleston baseball team. Cougars baseball coach Matt Heath said, "Jacob was a good kid. He was very quiet and reserved, but he worked hard and did anything he was asked to do. He comes from a great family that’s very close. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

My older daughter did this once.

A pharmacist and Red Cross first aid trained lifeguard, Tori stopped on I-26 at the rest area in Laurens County at a wreck scene. She and others administered aid to a person in a wrecked vehicle.

It was obvious - she didn’t need to ask this person, “Do you need help?”

She was bound by her oath and training to administer whatever aid she could. Others who stopped were not bound in that way, but they stopped, too. 

My younger daughter is similarly bound. Also a trained lifeguard, Mary Elizabeth is an EMT for Newberry County. She comes onto scenes where someone already has asked “Do you need help?” She asks people where they hurt, and binds their wounds.

I know for an absolute fact that I would not have stopped. At 1 o’clock in the morning on a dark highway, especially if my wife or my children or my nieces and nephews were in the car, I would not have stopped.

I would not have approached the Jew lying on the side of the road, bloody from a robbery. I would not have been the Samaritan who asked, “Do you need help?”

I would not have approached the blind beggar, or the leper, or the money-changer ashamed of his occupation. I would not be the one to ask, “Do you need help changing your life?” I probably would not even have been the innkeeper who seeing a woman heavy with child and a husband with a deep worried brow, asked, “Do you need the one place I can give you?”

I am not that person. God bless those of you who are.


(Quotes in this column are from WYFF-TV on-line and The Post & Courier newspaper on-line. Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. His columns appear monthly in The Chronicle and Blogs, Reach him at 833-1900 or





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