By Sherrie Norris
If anyone ever doubted the High Country’s compassion for its fellowman, those thoughts will be dispelled once again as the community comes out in force to remember heroes and to support its neighbors in need.
It happens May 17-18, during the Seventh Annual Hunter’s Heroes Community Dinner and Memorial Run, a combined weekend event that serves as a stark reminder of why we care and why we do the things we do around here.
It all started when The High Country was shattered by the July 26, 2012 death of Deputy Sheriff William Mast, Jr., and the circumstances that surrounded the tragedy for all involved. However, thanks to the caring community that we are — and one that sticks together in good times and bad — a bright light was illuminated through a memorial event the following year which continues to grow brighter every year.
Hunter’s Heroes, an event named for Mast’s son, who was born 17 days after his father’s death, will once again bring the community together as one in an effort to not only remember a fallen hero, but to help others in their time of need.
The event honoring Mast’s memory will kick off with a fundraising lunch on Friday, May 17 (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.), followed by a celebration dinner ( 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. ) at Greenway Baptist Church in Boone.
The evening meal will be served in conjunction with a carnival atmosphere featuring fun activities for the whole family.
Dessert donations will be greatly appreciated and may be delivered to Greenway Church at any time during the day on Friday.
Patrons may eat in at either lunch or dinner. Take-outs and deliveries will be available from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; for deliveries, call (828) 773-9986.
Cost for the meal is $10 for adults and $4 for children.
Additional tickets are required for the carnival games, face-painting, bounce house and more that evening.
Those tickets are $4 for children ages 4 and under; $8 for children 5-12.
Proceeds from the community dinner will be shared with Aiden’s Army to help with medical expenses for Aiden Amason, a young Watauga student who has captured the hearts of everyone during his courageous battle with cancer. Aiden was diagnosed several years ago at the age of 6 with Stage 4 Desmoplastic Round Blue Cell Tumors and continues to go through treatments and related procedures in a fight that he and his family are determined to win. With the community’s help, we believe they can do just that.
Running to Remember
On Saturday, May 18, the annual William Mast Memorial 5K will begin at 8:30 am at the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. The runners and walkers will head out of the Hodges Gap Road parking lot onto Oak Grove Road, taking a right onto Hwy. 421 South and continue to the light at the Mellow Mushroom in downtown Boone, near the courthouse. At the light, they will take a right onto Water St., a left onto Rivers St. to Hwy. 321 South/Blowing Rock Rd. The final destination will be the Boone Police Department.
The awards ceremony and celebration will take place at that location following the race.
This year’s 5K run will be in memory of James Randall, “Randy” Collins, who passed away unexpectedly August 30, 2018. While in Boone, he served as Chief of Watauga County Rescue for 26 years.
According to Hunter’s Heroe’s event coordinator, Emily Greer, Randy Collins “servant’s heart, is personified through a quote by the late Winston Churchill, who said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give “
Proceeds from the Memorial Run and Celebration will benefit the Randy Collins Athletic Training Scholarship-Yosef Club.
5K Registration Information
Fees were $25 for individuals who registered before March 31 and $30 for individuals who registered on April 1or afterward. Public safety officers and military personnel received a discounted fee of $20 before March 31 and $25 on or after April 1. Signing up in advance will guarantee a race T-shirt.
About Ages and Awards
The age categories are:
12 and under; 13-19, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 -79, and 80+.
In each race, awards will go to the top three male and top three female runners. The winners will receive hand-made local pottery.
Those who were registered by midnight on May 1 may pick up packets and T-shirt at Greenway Baptist Church Family Life Center in Boone on Friday, May 17 (2:00pm-8:00pm).
Race day pick-up will also be available on site. If picking up for someone else, please bring their ID.
The race will be held, rain or shine and no refunds will be offered. However, in extreme circumstances with advance notice, credit may be given toward a future race.
A Message on behalf of Hunter’s Heroes:
Emily Greer, who works tirelessly as part of the Hunter’s Heroes Board of Directors to make these events possible each year, hopes to inspire our community to remember those, like Mast, who gave the ultimate sacrifice — and also to embrace the loved ones who have lost someone too soon. “We honor public safety officers and military personnel of their service to North Carolina and to the United States, and our intention is to remember and celebrate their commitment and to provide financial support to their families in times of need.”
For more information, visit huntersheroes2013.com of follow on Facebook.