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Student missionary dies in Maine car crash

STANDISH, Maine (BP)–Southern Baptist summer missionary Palmer Maphet, 20, of Mount Juliet, Tenn., was killed and three other Tennessee students and their supervisor were injured June 16 when their car was struck by another vehicle near Portland, Maine.

Maphet, a sophomore at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, was serving on a team sent out by Tennessee Baptist Collegiate Ministry to minister at Laconia Motorcycle Week in Laconia, N.H. They were en route to the event when the accident occurred.

Three other students were injured: Leah Hardwick of Jackson, Tenn., a student at Jackson State Community College; Justin Owens of Union City, Tenn., a student at the University of Tennessee in Martin; and Legon Craighead of Gordonsville, Tenn., a student at Union University in Jackson. Also injured was Marilyn McClendon, the students’ supervisor, who was driving the car.

Owens, Craighead and McClendon were treated at Maine Medical Center and released the same day. Hardwick was held overnight and was expected to be released June 17.

According to a news report by the Portland (Maine) News, a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, driven by Paula Haddow, 63, of Standish, Maine, crossed into the lane and struck McClendon’s car.

“Palmer Maphet was an exceptional Christian man,” said Bill Choate, director of Baptist Collegiate Ministries for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. “He will obviously be missed by so very many.”

Maphet was very involved in the BCM at Tennessee Tech, said BCM campus director John Aaron Matthew.

After the accident, Matthew posted on Facebook that Palmer had served as team leader of his freshman spiritual growth team and this past spring began a new role on the upperclassmen discipleship team. He also was “preparing to reach his dorm for Christ as a community group leader,” Matthew wrote.

“Palmer lived a life that was not wasted because he lived his life running hard after Christ in an effort to know God and to make Him known,” Matthew also observed on the Facebook page.

Matthew asked for prayer for the Maphet family and for his summer mission team in Maine: “Please pray that Palmer’s life still continues to bring glory to God even in death.”

Choate noted that each summer Tennessee BCM sends students to New England to help Southern Baptist churches there reach out to their communities.

He noted that McClendon, who was leading this team, “is one of BCM’s very best partners and local missionary supervisors, working with us for many years to engage Tennessee students in ministry in a secular culture.”

McClendon, a former staff member at Highland Baptist Church in Tullahoma, Tenn., currently serves on the staff at SouthCoast Community Church in Scarborough, a suburb of Portland.

Stacy Murphree, the Tennessee Baptist Convention’s collegiate missions specialist, was traveling to Maine on Thursday to be with the remaining BCM summer missionaries.
Lonnie Wilkey is editor of the Baptist and Reflector (www.tnbaptist.org/BRNews), newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

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  • Lonnie Wilkey

    Lonnie Wilkey is editor of the Baptist and Reflector (baptistandreflector.org), newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

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