Lead singer of country music group Backroad Anthem Craig Strickland was laid to rest on Tuesday, January 12th. The funeral service, which took place at Cross Church in Rogers, Ark., was streamed live by the church. Amongst those who performed was season 9 The Voice's Barrett Barber.
Helen, Craig's wife, expresses her thanks for those who attended the funeral as well as those who watched it online: "Thank you to everyone who watched the memorial service, either physically present or via webcast, tonight. I wish I could thank and hug each of you individually. But for now, all I can do is say thank you and I love you. Because of your love and prayers I know I can get through this. Thank you for loving my husband. He cared so much about all of you."
On December 27h last year, Craig, his friend Chase Morland and Strickland's dog Sam went for a duck hunt. But severe weather conditions led to them being lost in the woods. When Strickland and Morland failed to make contact with their families for 24 hours, a search began for the two missing men. Later, they discovered Strickland's body on Monday (Jan. 4). Morland's body was recovered on the afternoon of Dec. 28, with Sam found, alive, next to his body. On Dec. 31, search crews discovered footprints, boat marks and dog prints that helped them narrow their search area and find Strickland.
On the night before the funeral, Craig's wife Helen quotes Scripture and writes: ""I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 Dear friends, please pray that I may have strength tomorrow as I walk through the most difficult experience I've ever gone through in my life. I am so thankful for every moment I had with Craig and I am thankful the Lord is taking care of him now. More than ever our family will need your prayers. I'm so thankful for every person that has poured out their love to us. If you are unable to physically attend, I hope that you will join our family via webcast at crosschurch.com/watchlive. I love you all as Craig did. Goodnight."
In memory of her husband, Helen wrote a moving letter: "Today I buried my husband. This is a picture of the letter I put in his jacket pocket. I love him with every part of my heart, but I love our God more...and I know my God loves Craig and I more than we could ever imagine. Therefore, God has a purpose. He makes everything beautiful in its time. Craig established relationships with each of us so that he could see us again. So let us love one another like Craig did. Let us pray for strangers. And let us establish relationships with one another with the goal of establishing Christ-like relationships so that we can see each other again in heaven. "For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest... A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance... A time to search and a time to quit searching." Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4, 6."
Backroad Anthem will continue to bring fans new music despite Craig's passing. Without Strickland, the band consists of Toby Freeman on vocals and electric guitar, fiddler Eric Dysart, guitarist Josh Bryant, bassist and vocalist Brandon Robold and drummer Isaac Senty. The group has opened for country artists including Chris Young, Gary Allan and Tyler Farr and has said that they intend to continue their career without Strickland.