Memorial paddle about family, friends and fun

Paddlers gather to remember Zachary Goforth on his birthday

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Photo gallery – more than 300 images
* April 4: Tailgating on Little River
* Aug. 26, 2014: Former county man dies in ATV crash

LITTLE RIVER — Staci Stutts Smith recalled early Saturday afternoon a moment, about this time last year, when Zachary Goforth called her.

Her son, Smith said, didn’t want to come out and say that he needed help — especially his mom’s help. So, Smith said, Goforth told his mother his friend had gotten sunburned while paddling along Little River  near the Highway 731 bridge. His friend needed some ointpoint. Maybe his friend needed some over-the-counter pain reliever, too.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

She recalled the story with affection. Of course, the relief was for Zach. Of course, Smith dropped everything and brought whatever she think might be of help to her son — er, his friend. That, Smith said on Saturday, was the idea behind the inaugural Zachary Goforth Memorial River Run.

The 4.8-mile adventure took paddlers along Little River from the Highway 731 bridge south to Highway 73. Afterwards, many family members, including Goforth’s brothers, Austin Goforth and Jordan Smith, uncle Travis Stutts and grandfather Phil Stutts, among others close to Zach, traveled to Town Creek Indian Mound for lunch.

Funds raised from T-shirt sales were to be donated in Zach’s memory to a local humane society. Otherwise, the event that brought more than 80 paddlers and additional support crew to this rural part of Montgomery County was intended to reacquaint many with a waterway that hadn’t been on their radar in some time, and for others introduce them to a form of outdoor recreation that Zach, who died Aug. 24, 2014 after sustaining fatal injuries in an ATV incident, loved. He was 21 years old. He would have been 22 today.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Goforth was one of three people riding in the dark when, shortly before 4 a.m. he lost control of his all-terrain vehicle.  A North Carolina Highway Patrol report indicated dust kicked up by another four-wheeler impaired Goforth’s ability to see. Police said Goforth ran off the road into a ditch and overturned.

He was a member of HHC, 30th Brigade, Special Troops Battalion. He was attached as a track vehicle mechanic to Charlie Company, 30th Brigade, Special Troops Battalion.

Goforth was a member of McLean Presbyterian Church in Ellerbe. His mother taught at Richmond Senior High School for several years.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Paddlers from Richmond and Montgomery counties, and family members from further out, joined under the Highway 731 bridge for a prayer before departing south.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

 

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, Military and Veterans, Outdoors

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