By Sherrie Norris
When 16-year-old Dillion Critcher of Boone lost his life as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident seven years ago, the High Country seemed to come to a standstill. Family, friends and associates of all ages were stunned by the loss of such a vibrant, fun-loving teen whose life, it seemed, was cut way too short.
Since that fateful night, June 14, 2012, the community has proved, time after time, that Critcher’s life was not in vain: the efforts to keep his memory alive continue with the annual Dillion Critcher Memorial Bike Ride scheduled for August 3 in Boone.
Each year, a large crowd of bikers and community members alike attend the event, hosted by the Peacemakers, the local chapter of the Christian Motorcycle Association, of which his parents are members.
It’s the chapter’s annual contribution to the CMA’s Run for the Son fundraiser, a mission outreach for pastors in third-world countries.
While the event is always a bittersweet one for the Critcher family, there is joy interspersed with the sadness, as not only a young man is fondly remembered, but it also represents hope for the future and help for those in need.
Dillion’s parents, Danny and Lynne Critcher, are encouraged by the support of others through this event and are humbled that their son is still remembered by so many people.
“Dillion used to accompany us to many CMA events,” said Danny Critcher. “He was a big help and everyone loved having him around.”
Having just passed the seventh year anniversary of their son’s death, the Critchers said that losing Dillion changed their lives forever, and has been especially hard for his brother, Zack.
“No one can prepare you for grief, it’s just something that you deal with the rest of your life,” said Danny. “But we know he’s in heaven.”
The event gives the Critcher family a chance to fellowship with many of Dillion’s friends who return each year, in addition to church and community members and fellow bikers who participate. “We love the time we have with everyone who comes to remember our son and to help make a difference in the lives of others. The money we raise helps provide transportation for ministers around the world.”
It’s a lot of work, Critcher admitted, but well worth the effort. “It’s rewarding to us to see everyone that was affected by our Dillion and to know he is not forgotten.”
Registration begins at 11 a.m. with bikers heading out for their ride at 1 p.m. There is no charge for the ride or the meal of barbecue and all the trimmings, but donations are appreciated.
“It has become more than a motorcycle event and we invite the community to join us for this special day,” Critcher said.
The memorial benefit will be held at Hollar & Greene Produce Co., located at 230 Cabbage Row in Boone.
For more information, call Danny Critcher at 828-964-2100.