James Randall, “Randy” Collins tragically passed away Thursday afternoon, August 30, 2018. While in Boone, he served as Chief of Watauga County Rescue for 26 years. Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” This is just one of the many thoughts that describe a man that had a servant’s heart. The proceeds from our Memorial Run and celebration will be given to the Randy Collins Athletic Training Scholarship-Yosef Club.
Sergeant Dillon Baldridge
Sergeant Dillon C. Baldridge was killed in action in Afghanistan on Saturday, June 10, 2017. Dillon was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge and the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster. Proceeds from the 2017 Memorial Run were donated to the mission of the Blue Star Mothers of the High Country and The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, offering support to all those grieving the loss of a military loved one.
Ben Chappell, a retired NC State Trooper lost his life in a plane crash on April 25, 2016. Ben worked as an NC State Trooper for over 25 years. Anita, Chappell’s wife, and their two children decided that the donations from the Memorial Run would be donated to the Shriner’s Burn Unit for Children, as Chappell had a passion for helping children and was a Shriner himself.
Travis Jake Gryder
Travis Jake Gryder lost his life on May 11th, 2015 in a tragic motorcycle accident. Travis was a firefighter at Blowing Rock Fire Department and a volunteer at the Watauga County Rescue Squad. Proceeds from the 2016 Memorial Run were placed in a scholarship fund in memory of Travis for those in need of financial help becoming a firefighter, police officer, or EMT.
Jason M Crisp
United States Forest Service Officer Jason Crisp, who along with his k-9 partner Maros, were shot and killed in Burke county, North Carolina on March 12th, 2014. He has a wife, Amanda Dicks Crisp, and two sons, Garett and Logan. Proceeds from the 2015 Memorial Run were used to create a fund that would lessen the financial burdens and create scholarship funds for Jason’s sons.
Major Ryan Scott David
Late Major Ryan Scott David gave up his life fighting fires on July 1st, 2012 with the National Guard Air Division on MAFFS 7. Hunter's Heroes feels it's only right and fitting to share the stories of these incredible men who died while making sure others were safe. Ryan's wife, Jenny Ellerbe and their young son, Rob were the recipients of the Memorial Run in 2014. <a href = "http://issuu.com/mtimes/docs/aaw_june_2014" target="_blank">Read More About Jenny Ellerbe Here!</a>
Deputy William Mast Jr.
Hunter's Heroes started in 2013 as a memorial run for Deputy William Mast Jr. who died suddenly in the line of duty. His son, Hunter Mast, was born 17 days later. That day marked the rise of a hero who will never be forgotten. William's wife, Paige Mast, and their young son, Hunter, were the recipients of the first Memorial Run in 2013. <a href="http://issuu.com/mtimes/docs/novaaw2013" target="_blank">Read more about Paige Mast here!</a>
Aiden, a young student of Watauga County, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Desmoplastic Round Blue Cell Tumors at six years old. Aiden's Army was established in 2015 to help Aiden with traveling expenses and medical bills. His scans are currently clear, but he is still receiving treatments. Aiden and his family are determined to win this fight. The proceeds raised from the 2019 Community Dinner will be attributed to Aiden.
Levi Boyter, a local 2-year-old, who recently received a kidney transplant, was another 2017 Memorial Run and Celebration recipient. Funds raised assisted the family in paying bills for Levi’s surgery through the organization COTA (Children’s Organ Transplant Association).
Elayne Bishop, a teacher at Watauga High School who was pregnant and undergoing breast cancer treatment, was another 2016 recipient. Proceeds from the dinner went to her family to help with their medical bills. Elayne is an inspiration, never wavering or becoming discouraged in difficult circumstances. Through all the hardship, her love for her family and faith in God speak wonders to those around her.
Watauga County native Leda Winebarger has always seen her life as a journey. Leda was diagnosed with renal cancer and cirrhosis, caused by an unknown autoimmune disease. Leda is grateful for the blessings God continues to pour into her life, and to Hunter’s Heroes for both their support and their inspiration. She invites everyone to remembrance about the journey.
Jenny McCourry is a daughter, sister, wife to Adam, and a mother to two beautiful children. On October, 20th of 2014, Jenny was diagnosed with breast cancer. In November she began a year-long treatment to fight the cancer. Proceeds from the 2015 Community Dinner will assist with Jenny’s medical bills and the family’s financial burdens. <a href="http://issuu.com/mtimes/docs/aawjuly2015_web" target="_blank">Read More About Jenny McCourry Here</a>
Katie Watson is a young girl in our community who has epilepsy and has undergone many surgeries over the past few years. Katie was the recipient of the Community Dinner in 2014.
Four-year-old Peyton Townsend was killed in a tragic accident on June 8, 2012. Peyton’s parents, Sarah, a nurse, and Randall, a paramedic/state trooper, established the Lilly Grace College Fund in Peyton’s memory. Peyton's sister, Lilly Grace Townsend was the recipient of the Community Dinner in 2013. <a href="http://issuu.com/mtimes/docs/novaaw2013" target="_blank">Read more about Sarah Townsend here!</a>