by Mariel Gambino
June 5, 2013. Citizens of the High Country were shocked into sadness when Peyton Townsend, just 4 years old, was struck and later died from a freak accident at Mount Paran Baptist Church in Deep Gap. Not long after, community members were left reeling when Deputy William Mast Jr. passed away responding to a domestic dispute call in Deep Gap on July 26, 2012.
This weekend, June 7 and 8, the lives of Mast and Townsend are celebrated and remembered with the First Annual Hunter’s Heroes Memorial Run and Lilly Grace College Fund Spaghetti Dinner.
The start of the two-day event kicks off with Lilly Grace College Fund Silent Auction and Spaghetti Dinner, held at Greenway Baptist Church Family Life Center. The dinner and auction benefits Lilly, Peyton Townsend’s older sister.
The cost of this special dinner is $5.50 for adults 13 and up and $2.25 for children 12 and under. Dinner begins at 5 p.m. and is served until 8 p.m. The menu includes spaghetti, bread, salad and choice of a homemade dessert.
The silent auction, which boasts items such as NASCAR race tickets, ASU football tickets, various items from Tweetsie Railroad, Mystery Hill and Doe Ridge Pottery, starts at 2 p.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m.
Peyton’s celebration of life continues at 7:30 p.m. with a release of 500 pink balloons. People are invited to write a message to Peyton or her family.
Hunter’s Heroes, a rising non-profit organization that supports the Hunter Mast College Scholarship Fund, is holding a walk/run 5K, 10 miler, and end of run picnic on Saturday, June 8. The proceeds from this event will benefit Hunter Mast, William Mast’s only son, who was born nearly three weeks after his father’s tragic death.
The benefit run/walk will start at 9 a.m. at the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. The 5K ends at the Boone Police Department, while the 10 miler ends at the Blowing Rock Police Department.
Parking is limited at the Watauga County Sheriff’s Department and Blowing Rock Police Department, so shuttles are offered from Oak Grove Baptist Church parking lot, Brushy Fork Baptist Church parking lot, Raley Parking Lot, Blowing Rock Elementary School, Blowing Rock parking deck and Blowing Rock Broyhill Park.
Runners and walkers can register Friday, June 7 from 2 to 8 p.m. at Greenway Baptist Church Family Life Center. Registration is also available the day of the race from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. An individual or team option is available for the 10 Miler.
It is $30 for the 5K, $40 for the 10 Miler and all public safety and military receive $5 off registration fees.
Awards for the races are held at 11 and 11:30 a.m. Top three awards are given to each winner in age groups 19 years and younger, 20 – 29, 30 – 39, 40 – 49, 50 – 59, 60 – 69 and 70+. For more information about race awards ceremony and general race day logistics click here.
After the race, members of the community are invited to a celebration of William Mast’s life in Memorial Park on Main Street in Blowing Rock starting at 10 a.m. Children can participate in recreational activities such as relays, bounce houses, face painting and balloon animals. Entertainment includes local praise and worship band to provide music and a clogging performance by Kitty’s Fleet Feet. Barbeque is provided by Bandanas Bar B Que & Grill, Woodlands Barbecue and Boone Meat Center, and sub sandwiches are offered from Subway, Jimmy Johns, Jersey Mikes, and Which Which. Food is served 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Donations can be made in the form of cash or check. Checks can be made out to Hunter’s Heroes.
For more information on the race or dinner, call Emily Greer at 828-773-9986 or click to huntersheroes2013.com
All of the High Country is invited to take part in a celebration of William Mast and Peyton Townsend’s lives.