It’s fitting that the lesson of the week comes from a teacher.

But this time, Joplin High School teacher William Keczkemethy presented his lesson from the courtroom. And, in so doing, he taught his community something about forgiveness.

William and Lynn Keczkemethy’s 19-year-old daughter, Kirsten, died from injuries she suffered in an accident on Sept. 17, 2007, on 32nd Street near McConnell Avenue in south Joplin. Her fiancé, Kaleb Miller, was driving the car.

Witnesses described Miller as driving 55 to 60 mph in a 40-mph zone. His vehicle struck two other cars, and injured two motorists in one of the other cars. He pleaded guilty last November to one count of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault.

On Tuesday, during Miller’s sentencing hearing, William Keczkemethy asked the judge for leniency for the young man.

“As heartbroken as we are about what happened to Kirsten, we have forgiven Kaleb Miller,” William Keczkemethy said, reading from a statement.

Keczkemethy said Miller was not using alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, but exhibited “poor judgment.”

We were touched when this parent told the judge: “Kirsten is gone. Vengeance and retribution shall not bring Kirsten back, nor shall they make Kaleb a better citizen.”

Apparently the judge agreed with Keczkemethy that there would be no benefit to sending Miller away to jail for several years. Instead, he will serve 10 days in jail and will be under supervised probation for five years and will have to provide 960 hours of community service.

We are sure it was difficult for the Keczkemethy family to forgive the young man who played a role in the death of someone most dear to them.

But their action of forgiveness spoke volumes in that courtroom that day. It also prevented another life from being destroyed as the result of the accident.

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