Anabel Reid, who friends describe as a woman who had a unique passion for children and serving others, died Friday after the shuttle bus accident on U.S. Highway 83 just south of Ballinger. She was 19.
Reid was among 12 students, three faculty members and one faculty spouse who were traveling to Medina Children’s Home for the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Science’s annual service project. She is survived by her parents, Shelly and Ron Reid, and an older brother, Becton.
ACU’s Beauchamp Amphitheatre was filled with the candlelight of hundreds at a vigil Friday night, when students, family and friends gathered to honor Anabel and to pray for the 15 other victims.
Anabel’s mother said she was a compassionate leader who had a special dream to bring fresh and sustainable water sources to villages of underdeveloped countries.
“She had a bigger heart for service than anyone I have ever known in my life,” Shelly Reid said.
Anabel Reid was born on Jan. 28, 1992, to Ron and Shelly Reid. Along with big brother Becton, the family lived in a small farming town of Petersburg just outside Lubbock.
“I had to take her out of her crib at 10 months because she kept crawling out,” Anabel’s mother said. “She was always headstrong and determined.”
She spent her early years on the farm until her family relocated to town. But after her 16th birthday, the Reid family moved back to the farm, and Anabel returned to the life she loved.
“The farm had always been her passion,” Shelly Reid said. “She loved to drive the tractor and used it for anything. She just loved the outdoors.”
A good student and well-mannered girl, Anabel did have some “wild child” tendencies, her mother said, recalling the time when as a kindergartener, Anabel had neatly planted a whoopee cushion on her teacher’s chair.
“She was always heard – we didn’t have a choice to listen to her,” her mother said with a smile. “And we’re a loud family.”
Anabel made it her special mission to meet every child and make him or her feel welcome, she said. She had a sweet spirit, began each day with singing and could be found tagging along with big brother Becton, 23.
“They did everything together,” Shelly said.
The two enjoyed hunting, shooting, backpacking, rock climbing and riding motorcycles.
“She surpassed me in the hiking department,” said her brother Becton, recalling a recent trip to Jagged Mountain and Leviathan Peak in Colorado.
Becton described Anabel as a natural-born leader who was up for anything. He recalled receiving a surprising phone call from her in April.
“I went skydiving today; what have you done lately?” Anabel asked.
Becton said they were as close as any brother and sister could be. He said they even dreamed of joint business ventures.
“Anabel called me up one day and mentioned that she had found 50 donkeys she thought we should invest in,” Becton said. “She was very thorough and didn’t do anything without researching it first. She even wrote up a business plan and proposal.”
Becton said his business-savvy little sister also had a heart for the Lord.
“Youth group, mission trips, retreats – she never missed anything,” Becton said.
Buddy Mills, former associate minister at her hometown church, Broadway Church of Christ, said she had a maturity well beyond her years.
“Everyone was just blown away by her persona,” Mills said. “Through and through, she was just an incredible girl.”
He said he remembers Anabel befriending his 12-year-old son when his family first arrived at Broadway.
“Nobody at church reached out to my son any more than Anabel,” he said. “She was just iconic within the youth group.”
Her mother said even as a child, Anabel was the household’s spiritual center.
“She taught us to be still and listen – seek and ye shall find,” her mother said.
Anabel enrolled at Abilene Christian University in the fall of 2010 after working to raise the tuition money herself. Shelly said it was a dream of her daughter’s, and she was proud to be at the university.
“She didn’t come to ACU to learn to serve. She came to ACU to continue to serve,” Reid said.
Anabel volunteered with the non-profit organization Wishing Well and dreamed of giving the simple gift of water. She researched affordable and sustainable ways to implement water purification systems in underdeveloped villages overseas.
Friday’s trip to Medina Children’s Home with the ag department would have been Anabel’s second time volunteering with the non-profit Christian organization. Shelly said she knows her daughter would never have regretted going on the trip.
“She believed that’s what she was called to do,” her mother said, “help people and live a life of service.”
Andrew Saucedo, sophomore bio-chemistry pre-med and Christian ministry major from Tyler, first met Anabel at University Church of Christ and said she always seemed to know what God was saying in every situation.
“She just cared for people, and she wanted to change the world,” Saucedo said. “She was going to dig wells in Africa and change so many peoples’ lives, but she changed so many lives here.”
Abigail Talley, sophomore biology pre-med major from Tanzania, lived with Reid in Morris Hall, along with Rachel Easley, sophomore pre-dental major from Belton.
“She really was a godly girl,” Talley said of her childhood friend and roommate. “If you ever got stuck in the mud and were in the middle of nowhere, she’d come without even thinking.”
Talley said Anabel had a gift of encouragement. She always had a Bible verse to share and prays to offer.
“She was very mature in her faith, and she really has been such a blessing in my life,” Talley said. “Her life will continue to make me a better person, a better Christian and a better friend.”
Donations in Anabel’s honor may be made to the Children’s Home of Lubbock at P.O. Box 2824, Lubbock, TX 79408. A memorial service for Anabel Reid will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock.
“It will be a time to sing praises, remember and celebrate her life,” her mother said. “And that is absolutely what she would want.”