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As Michael's father, this is the last photo I ever took of my son. It amazingly encapsulates who he was. While at a church campout, just two months before Michael's death, I walked into the camp kitchen and there was Michael bandaging the scraped knee of his younger brother, Carson.

Michael was the young man who used his paycheck to buy his best friend a car. He was the big brother who played football with his younger brothers. He was a high school graduate, an athlete, and an employee. He was a college student and a boyfriend. He was honest and would never lie under oath.

However, Michael was not perfect and as study after study confirms, he was one of many young adults in Wisconsin who consumed alcohol. During times of loneliness or stress, it was his crutch. Disappointedly, as with other Wisconsin youth, he also had a phase where he dabbled in pot. Yet, most importantly, he demonstrated maturity, and as his final blood test confirms, moved beyond that.

His home improvement skills were remarkable and we spent hours at my kitchen table discussing real estate concepts. He was actively pursuing his first property and was ready to write an offer on his first home. What other young man that you know carries a business card at age 21?

So who was Michael Edward Bell? He was a young man with goals and a future, with strengths and weaknesses, who was just growing up.


Michael Bell Sr.