Rest in peace, Charles Buchanan

This is a tremendously sad day at The Free Press, where we have lost our co-worker, our dear friend and the most talented photographer I have ever worked alongside in Charles Buchanan.

Charles was the most professional photojournalist I’ve ever known. He was ethical to his core — if he was covering an event, he was NEVER late and he treated every single assignment as if it was the most important assignment he was ever going to shoot.

He had an eye for shots the average person couldn’t see — until they were on my desk (and later in your paper or on your screen).

Please join me and our Free Press family in praying for the love of Charles’ life, his beautiful wife Patsy.

Morning Sports Report; Feb. 17, 2012

EASTERN PLAINS 2A CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT AT VIKING GYM

Kinston’s boys and girls — each a No. 1 seed — play host to the Eastern Plains 2A tournament championship tonight. The girls tip off the night with a game against Farmville Central at 6 p.m.; the boys face surprising Tarboro at 7:30 p.m. in an attempt to win their sixth straight conference tournament title.

My take: While it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine a Kinston/Farmville Central girls matchup, NO ONE would’ve thought Tarboro — the seventh seed in the seven-team EP2A — would’ve upset second-seeded North Pitt and third-seeded Wilson Beddingfield in the first two rounds of the tournament.

And why would they? Tarboro was 1-11 in the league and 4-20 overall entering the tournament. They’re playing for a chance to make it to the 2A state playoffs with nothing to lose — and that’s always a dangerous combination.

And don’t get it twisted — there’s a lot of raw talent on that Tarboro hoops team, which includes several members of the 2A football championship squad.

My predictions for tonight: Kinston’s girls win 53-41; the Kinston boys win a good ‘un, 73-66.

And come on out to the game: I’m giving away two sets of tickets to the Freedom Classic, which takes place next weekend at Grainger Stadium between Air Force and Navy. In fact, the first person who comes up to me at the scorer’s table and says they read this on the blog will get two free tickets to one of the games.

DUKE BREAKS SOME WUFFIE HEARTS

Duke did it again to a Tobacco Road rival last night as the Blue Devils rallied to down N.C. State, 78-73, at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke trailed by 20 points with less than 12 minutes in the game and outscored the Wuffies 37-12 to close the game.

My take: Combined with last week’s unbelievable comeback and upset at the Dean Dome, it’s been a great time to be a Dookie.

THE KID’S LAST GAME WAS AN AWESOME WIN

Thanks to Deadspin for this — Gary Carter’s final hit was a game-winner for the Montreal Expos:

My take: Awesome — just awesome. I’ve watched the video five times and it gives me chill bumps every time. I’m not nearly the baseball fan as some of you are here, but if you can watch that and it doesn’t move you, you have no soul.

And what makes it better is that Harry Carey called it. Freaking awesome.

NBA DUNK CONTEST LEAVES A LOT TO BE DESIRED

Four guys you probably haven’t heard of will participate in this year’s NBA Slam Dunk competition as part of the All-Star weekend activities in Orlando.

My take: No pun intended, but I think it’s finally time for the NBA to admit this concept has finally jumped the shark (see what I did there?). Last year’s event was pretty cool with Blake Griffin participating, but if the best you can do is Iman Shumpert … what the hell are you doing, David Stern?

I’d rather see one-on-one contests between LeBron and Kobe or a hottest cheerleader competition than this. For example — who is hotter, these Charlotte Bobcats cheerleaders:

Or these Miami Heat cheerleaders?

You decide. I report. You click on the photos for a better view.

MARIO WILLIAMS READY FOR FREE AGENCY

Former Richlands High School and N.C. State star Mario Williams is arguably the best free agent on the NFL market this year after leading the Houston Texans to the franchise’s first playoff game and win this season.

My take: And now I begin my prayer — Please, Lord … let Dan Snyder sign Mario to my Redskins. Pretty please. Amen.

The iPod shuffle

In Da Club — 50 Cent

Hello Goodbye — The Beatles

Smokin — Boston

Cool The Engines — Boston

Brass Monkey — Beastie Boys

Catching up with y’all

Some updates for my bloggy peops:

  • Not sure when we’re going over to the new blog. Haven’t heard anything from the tech folks, so … we’re going to keep humping on this blog until I’m told otherwise. I am insisting, however, the categories and blogroll feature are included on the new one — and at this moment, they’re not there.
  • Jon Dawson, Justin Hill and I taped the final Free Press Radio Program/Podcast of 2011 this morning. We talked about the top 10 most-viewed stories of the year on Kinston.com — and I think it’s a pretty good podcast, even though I sound like I’m half-asleep during most of it. Please give it a listen — I put a lot of my heart into it and, frankly, we’re not getting half the listens I figured we would. Do me a favor — give it a listen and let me know what you think. If it stinks, let me know. If it’s good, tell your boys.
  • Speaking of Dawson, don’t forget his new book has dropped and you can purchase it either at our office (2103 N. Queen St., Kinston), on Amazon.com or at jondawson.com. It would make a hell of a Christmas present for that special person on your list!
  • We lost two of our four players in the Blog Survivor Pool last weekend as both women — SealGirl and Shanna Capps — went with Tennessee over Indianapolis. It’s down to 2010 champ Heelatious (New England last week) and ECPirates11 (New Orleans). If you haven’t paid your $5 yet — either for the first game or for part 2 — please do so. If you don’t, that means I have to pay the winner out of my own pocket … and you know that ain’t cool.
  • Usually, I’ll write a couple of posts about our HBFL playoffs, but, alas, I haven’t had time to barely breathe the past few weeks. However, we’re in the Super Bowl week of both leagues; in the HBFL Live, No. 8 seed Heelatious’ Heelsfan’s Show Me Your TDs, who were 6-7 in the regular season, are facing defending champion and third-seeded Wes Brown’s Crime Dawgs, who went 7-6. The winner of that game receives $200, while the loser gets $50. Lee Wetherington, whose Wreakn Havoc team finished with the most points in the league (1,314) and wins $50 for that. I’ll pay everyone when I get back to town the week of Jan. 1. In the meantime — if you haven’t paid yet (and there are still four who haven’t) — get your dues in. Again, I don’t want to have to pay winnings out of my own pocket, y’all.
  • In the HBFL Online, the top two seeds — the No. 1 Drew Loftis-owned Hookers With Dysentery (10-3) are taking on the No. 2 Elizabeth Moon-owned Grifton Sea Lions (9-4). Drew’s Hookers also were the top scoring team in the league with 1,190 points. There’s no prize in this league, just pride.
  • Congrats to Kinston coach Wells Gulledge, who won the 300th game in his career in last night’s 74-53 victory against North Lenoir at Viking Gym. Here’s a quick look at his 14-year-plus career: 300-86 overall (.777 winning percentage), 254-53 at Kinston (.827), seven conference titles, three Eastern Regional titles and two state championships. Pretty impressive.
  • Some major thank-you’s to former Kinston stars Dory Hines (now at Mount Olive College) and Reggie Bullock (UNC) for coming out to KHS this morning to help Justin “The Kid” Hill and his Free Press 12-and-under basketball team. Dory, in particular, was there the entire the practice and ran drills with the team. Reggie took about 5 minutes and talked to the kids about the importance of staying in school and overcoming adversity. Additionally, Coach Gulledge and current Ole Miss assistant baseball coach Cliff Godwin helped out with drills and motivation. An extremely fun morning — and here’s a cool photo taken after the practice:

Click on it for a better view.

  • The 2011 HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational (formerly known as the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational) tips off next week in Raleigh and Cary. For the fifth straight year, I am the media coordinator of the event — and this year, I’m bringing some of my friends to help. For the previous three years, Jonathan Massey has been my right-hand man as the tournament’s assistant media coordinator and he continues in that role this year. However, Justin “The Kid” Hill is taking over the role of Holiday Invitational girls’ tournament media coordinator this year. Also, Freedom ENC Desk Chief Richard Clark did a FANTASTIC job designing the game program for the HSOT; if you make it to Raleigh or Cary, make sure you grab a copy. As for game-by-game updates from the tourney, there simply won’t be as many here on the ol’ blog since the good folks at WRAL/Capital Broadcasting Company — the owners of the HSOT brand — have exclusive rights to that info. However, I will be providing early updates with sort of an MNR-type feel each morning. I’ll give you a schedule of that day’s games along with my predictions and thoughts going into each day. As always, though, there’ll be a video wrap-up each day with Triangle heartthrob Nick Stevens and myself and HSOT will live-stream each post-game press conference.
  • A LOT of you have asked about the Hot Blonde and here’s an update: her final chemo was a few weeks ago and right now, she’s just trying to get her life back to normal, i.e., working the chemo out of her system and recovering from her other related surgeries. It’s been an incredibly tough ride for one of the toughest people I know. But I also know this: she has appreciated every one of you who has taken the time to lift her up in prayer — and again, I know there are a lot of you out there who have done just that. You have no idea what your prayers have done to help her and me through this incredibly difficult time in our lives. I’m not exaggerating when I say this: I love you guys. Thank you for being pretty freaking awesome.

Prayers for Keith Spence’s daughter

Please join me in praying for a very good friend of mine (and yours, if you’ve ever met him) — Keith Spence. His beautiful daughter, Lindsay Spence, contracted a virus that sent her into a diabetic seizure last week. She’s in the hospital in Greenville now in critical care of the ICU unit … and hasn’t regained consciousness yet.

Sports, politics and all this other stuff is just BS when it comes to our family and loved ones. PLEASE join me in praying for our good friend and his daughter — especially here at such a poignant time of the year.

A preview of my Sunday column

I wanted to post my Sunday column here first, for an important reason — you bloggees have been extremely supportive of me the past few years and I wanted you to know why I’ve been “off the grid” here on the blog. It’s been a taxing and trying time since May, but I am thankful for the friends — some who are here (thanks, Heelatious!) — who have helped me and Tina through this time.

She’s far from being out of the woods, but she and I are thankful for you. Keep throwing your prayers up to the Big Guy for her.

Anyway … here’s my Sunday column for you a day before it hits the paper:

I’ll never forget the call.

I had just fussed at my Tina for letting our puppy dawg poo behind my apartment without picking it up – and then she said words that still ring in my ear today, “I found a lump.”

Those four little words literally took my breath away. Those four little words have led my Tina down a road I’m not sure I’d be strong enough to take.

Some background: those who know me well know my Tina – a Duke University sports fanatic (who thinks Mike Krzyzewski walks on water), a lover of the beach and a woman who’s not afraid to admit she loves Barry Manilow. I’d call Tina – who I’ve dated for five years – my girlfriend, but since we’re both in our 40s, it seems silly to call her a girl. She’s more like my soul-mate.

She lives in Raleigh, where she has had a 25-plus year career with the U.S. Postal Service and obviously, I live here in Kinston, a town and community I’ve fallen in love with in my nine years here. Despite that damned 80-mile difference, we’ve made our relationship work, probably because she doesn’t have to put up with my nonsense on a face-to-face, day-to-day basis.

We see each other every weekend and share custody of our Lenoir County SPCA mutt (named Molly Ringwald Hughes Hanks the Puppy Dawg), the sweetest dog in the world.

It was just another great weekend coming to an end in May when my Tina told me about finding the lump after a shower. She had already visited her gynecologist, who concurred that the lump wasn’t a good thing.

That day in May began a dizzying few months in which we’re still in the middle. Indeed, the lump was malignant and there were actually two cancer growths. My Tina had a mastectomy in June which included reconstruction surgery called a “tram flap” procedure – meaning the surgeon took material and muscles from her belly and rebuilt her breast with them. There have been three more surgeries since then on her stomach and breast, including one on Thursday.

She began chemotherapy in August, which was perhaps as big a blow as any my Tina has had to experience. On my blog, I’ve always referred to her as the Hot Blonde – and while she’s still extremely hot, her blondeness was cruelly taken away by the poison being pumped into her veins. Psychologically, the loss of her hair was as hard – or harder – than the loss of her breast.

Through it all, my Tina has been a warrior. She’s had her tough days when tears have flowed but she’s stood up to each one of the challenges presented her and beat them down the same way her beloved Duke Blue Devils beat my beloved Virginia Cavaliers.

A huge part of that has come from her incredible support network – which includes her wonderful mother, family and her dear friends. Her mom, in particular, has been with her every single step of the way. It’s easy to see where my Tina gets her strength.

My Tina is not completely out of the woods yet – there are two more chemo sessions with the potential for radiation afterwards – but the grace, dignity and fight she was put up has made her my hero, as if she wasn’t already at that status with me.

In one way or another, we’ve all been touched by cancer – an insidious disease that has no concern for sex, race, age or income level. It’s my first experience and I hope it’s my last. But I’ve had my own support network at The Free Press in my boss (Patrick Holmes), along with my dear friends, Assistant Managing Editor Nancy Saunders, Richard Clark, Paulette Burroughs, Sue Smith, Janet S. Carter and my excellent news staff. They’ve allowed me to be by the side of my Tina throughout this fight.

Patrick, Nancy and my staff have picked up my slack the past four or so months without blinking and I love and appreciate them all for it.

As you read Jane Moon’s excellent Page 1 story today on three other cancer survivors/warriors and you watch today’s NFL games where the players are wearing pink for breast cancer awareness, please remember those who have survived this terrible disease and those who are currently battling it.

And let’s find a cure for this disease so you’ll never have to get that call.

 

Bryan C. Hanks’ column appears every Sunday in The Free Press. You can reach him at 252-559-1074 or at bhanks@freedomenc.com. Check out Bryan’s blog at bhanks.encblogs.com and follow him on Twitter at BCHanks.

Morning News Report; Sept. 13, 2011

JWADE REDUX

Here is Ryan Herman’s story on Kinston High School baseball coach Jason Wade’s firing.

My take: I feel much the same way as I did yesterday when I broke this on the blog – this is a stupid move and one that will set KHS baseball back at least five years. I’ve since talked to several parents of current players and I know this much: some of these players will be transferring to other schools because of this decision.

It is kind of crappy that she decided to do this AFTER school started in an attempt to keep kids from transferring. If she had made this move before school started (and she had the opportunity to do so), it would’ve been easier for them to do so.

And I am perplexed this decision was made without conferring with the athletics director.

Regardless, keep your head up, JWade — you’re a faithful man and I know God has other things for you out there. Maybe next time you’ll go somewhere you’re appreciated.

I’ve already talked to about a dozen coaches, teachers, parents and athletes at KHS — and not one of them is happy with this decision. I know this much: Ms. Bryant stirred up a whole pot o’ stuff with this move (and other decisions she’s made); I’ll have more here later.

SAME-SEX CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT CLEARS N.C. HOUSE

A gay marriage ban and potential amendment to the N.C. Constitution passed the state House last night, 75-42. The bill — which would put the potential amendment on the May 2012 primary ballot — now moves to the N.C. Senate.

My take: Seriously? With no money for teachers, our state budget hemorrhaging money and all the other problems our state has … we’re going to waste time and money on keeping dudes or lesbians from marrying? Seriously?

I’ve been pretty straight-forward from the jump on gay rights — I think homosexuals have as much right to be miserable as straight folks. If they want to marry, by golly, let them. It’s been proven time and again, you don’t choose to be gay, so why punish them? And that’s what you’re doing when you deny homosexuals basic rights.

North Carolina prides itself on not being the back-woods type of state like our neighbors in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. You enact this type of bill and our state won’t be getting the kind of progressive companies such as Google to relocate here. But it’s all right … we have tobacco and textiles to fall back on.

Oops.

NORTHERN GUILFORD SUING NCHSAA FOR TITLE IT CHEATED FOR

Remember that Northern Guilford team that cheated to win a 3A state title in 2009 (the one that beat Kinston in the Eastern Regional finals that year)? Well, now some parents and coaches from that dishonored squad are trying to win the title back in court after the NCHSAA stripped them of it following a school board investigation in Guilford County.

My take: Another idiotic move from a program that continues to make idiotic moves. This has NO CHANCE (yes, in all caps so maybe it’ll be read in Guilford County) of being successful. In fact, if the NCHSAA is forced to restore NG’s 2009 championship, I’ll paint the school’s mascot on my chest and perform a dance on The Free Press’ front yard.

I wouldn’t get the ol’ camcorder fired up, though, ’cause it isn’t going to happen.

By the by, here’s a good column from FOB and highschoolOT.com’s Nick Stevens on the matter. And he’s right.

MANNY BEING MANNY MEANS SPOUSAL ABUSE?

Baseball’s former bad boy, Manny Ramirez, was arrested for a domestic violence incident yesterday.

My take: First, he retires instead of sitting out a 100-game steroid suspension and now this? He certainly wasn’t going to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame player … now, he’s probably NEVER going to make it to Cooperstown.

TRAGIC BURLINGTON STORY WITH A LIFE LESSON FOR YOUTH

I didn’t post it here last month but I’m sure most of you heard about the Burlington Williams quarterback who died two days after leading his team to a season-opening victory.

Investigators now know why the young man passed away — Harry Cohen took his grandmother’s pain medication and it caused him to have a heart attack.

My take: A tremendously sad story but one that kids all over the state can learn from — DO NOT take medication unless it is prescribed to you. This young man was in the best shape of his life and he couldn’t handle his grandmother’s medication. Just because you feel like you’re Superman or Superwoman doesn’t mean that you are.

Also, please take a moment and read the story — it is extremely well-written by Freedom Communications’ Roselee Papandrea.

The iPod shuffle

Sassafras Root — Green Day

Mama Said — The Shirelles

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me — Elton John

Saturday In The Park — Chicago

Wild Horses — The Rolling Stones

P.S.: I can eat crow with the best of ‘em, so here goes … congrats to Freedom ENC Desk Chief Richard Clark, who whipped my candy ass in our HBFL Live opening game this week, 108-97. What makes this sting more is this was Richard’s inaugural game in fantasy football while this is the start of my 17th year playing. Damn. While I’m at it, congrats to two-time defending HBFL Online champ Brent Pelletier for beating me, 87-79, in Week 1 of that league. Sheesh.

P.P.S.S.: And we’ll close today’s MNR on a somber note — a great man passed away on Sunday in the person of the Honorable Rodney R. Goodman, a longtime Kinston judge. I got to know Judge Goodman while I was dating his niece and he was certainly a funny, smart and wise man. Please join me in throwing some prayers up there for Judge Goodman’s family.

Morning News Report; Aug. 15, 2011

KINSTON: 50 YEARS LATER

Free Press Sports Editor Ryan Herman takes a look back at Kinston in 1961, when a baseball team captured the city’s imagination by winning a state title. He takes time to talk to a trio of players from that team (including current Kinston Indians official scorer Steve Oliver), and they tell him what it was like to win that title and what Kinston was like in the 1960s before Vietnam, drugs and the love of money took over the country.

My take: Herman has written some good stuff since he got here almost three years ago — but this might be the best. If you haven’t taken the time to read it, check it out.

Yes, Kinston has declined in the past 50 years; while virtually every county and city around Kinston and Lenoir County has grown, our area has stagnated to the point of falling behind. There are a lot of good things going for Kinston/Lenoir County right now — but there needs to be some serious cleaning up to get us back to those 1960 levels.

Having a pro-active mayor in office has helped, but it’s going to take the hard work of everyone — and not a bunch of bitchy whiners hiding behind screen names on a website — to get this mess turned around. If you care about Kinston and the future of our town, get off your ass and help — there are plenty of opportunities out there to do so.

On a side note: I/we took some heat from some parents for not covering a banquet for the recent 11-year-old national championship team from Lenoir County. Herman had two great stories on the sports front of the TFP (with teases on the front page). We were hit with some calls from the parents wanting us to cover their banquet this past week at King’s Restaurant.

We decided not to cover the banquet for several reasons, but chiefly for this: we’ve never covered a championship banquet before, for any team. On top of that, we’re severely understaffed right now with our two-man sports crew (Herman and David Hall) preparing for prep football (which kicks off Friday night), along with the final K-Tribe season winding down and ECU football heating up.

We are extremely proud of those kids for representing Kinston as well as they did and we are going to run a photo in the Tip-Off section of TFP in a future edition.

STAGE COLLAPSE IN INDIANA

An awful tragedy occurred Saturday when a stage collapsed at a Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair. At this moment, five have died and dozens more are injured, some critically.

Here’s a video of the collapse:

My take: Terrible, just terrible. Obviously, our prayers go out to those affected by this tragedy. And while it’s virtually impossible to predict acts of God, someone, somewhere should’ve made the decision to evacuate the area before something like this could happen.

RICK PERRY ANNOUNCES RUN FOR PRESIDENT

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced over the weekend he is running for the Republican nomination for president.

My take: While I think the GOP has a pretty weak field out there at the moment, I certainly don’t think this move strengthens the bunch. In fact, if anything, Perry — an uber-religious man — pushes the Republican field further to the right.

Don’t take that as me saying there doesn’t need to be some delineation between whichever GOP candidate and the very left-leaning President Obama in the 2012 race — but it’s going to be a hard sell to moderates if Perry wins the GOP nod.

U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann — despite Newsweek’s attempt to make her look crazier than she already looks — is the apparent leader in the clubhouse with 14 months to go before the election. But is she — or Mitt Romney or Perry — strong enough to take down a weak Obama? I really don’t think so at this moment.

The iPod shuffle

In A Big Country — Big Country

Break Ya Neck — Busta Rhymes

Give It Away — Red Hot Chili Peppers

Honey, I’m Home — Shania Twain

Bitch — The Rolling Stones

Remembering Taylor

As you can see above, this blog has been dedicated to Taylor Humphrey for the past year. Taylor — known as “Stump” to his friends and as BlueDevil99 here on the blog — was a valued contributor to this blog virtually since its inception.

Taylor and his sister died a year ago today. Please join me in saying a quick prayer for Taylor’s family.

The blog will be back up tomorrow…

Afternoon News Report; June 23, 2011

OD LEADS TO NEAR-DROWNING

A Lenoir County teenager is in “grave” condition at a Greenville hospital after nearly drowning while high on a morphine-like substance.

My take: This story has been bouncing around the interwebs the past couple of days, but we didn’t want to do anything with it until we had details. Good luck to Katyln — she and her family have our prayers from TFP.

MAN ROBS BANK FOR HEALTH CARE

A Gaston County man tried to rob a bank for a dollar last week so he could get free prison health care. Our sister paper, the Gaston Gazette, has done a fantastic job covering this — here is their latest report, although you can catch up on all the stories at the site.

My take: Yep … times are bad. And quite honestly, while this is a bit extreme, it’s not a terribly flawed plan.

NBA DRAFT IS TONIGHT

The NBA holds its annual draft tonight, with the common thought that Cleveland will take Duke’s Kyrie Irving at No. 1, with Minnesota set to take Arizona’s Derrick Williams at No. 2. After that, though, it’s a crapshoot.

My take: And “crap” may be the key word there. In most seasons, Irving would be lucky to be a lottery pick, but with so many top-flight players choosing to stay in college (see: UNC’s Harrison Barnes and John Henson), the pickin’s are slim this year.

Which makes you feel worse for the Cavaliers, who have No. 1 and No. 4 this year. Any other year and Cleveland would have two huge pieces and starters for years to come. However, the Cavs will be lucky to get two serviceable players with the lack of depth in this draft.

The iPod shuffle

Return To Innocence — Enigma

The Tide Is High — Blondie

Millionaire — Kelis featuring Andre 3000

The Safety Dance — Men Without Hats

Sweetness Follows — R.E.M.

P.S.: South Lenoir’s K’hadree Hooker, one of the South’s top-recruited football players, was in the office to talk with sports editor Ryan Herman. Here’s a picture of the two (with Free Press health reporter Jane Moon trying to sneak into the frame):

Click on the photo for a better view. And yes, I shared with him what a great school the University of Virginia would be for his education.

Eric Edge passes away (updated with obit)

One of my favorite student-athletes in my tenure in Kinston has passed away.

Eric Edge, who graduated from North Lenoir in 2006 after playing football and basketball for the Hawks, died in his sleep last night. I really don’t have any more details — I just found out literally moments ago.

I mentioned Eric in a 2006 column for good reason — he was a heck of a kid. He didn’t score the most (heck, hardly any!) for the Hawks basketball team and he wasn’t a superstar on the football field although he signed to play on the offensive line at Southern Virginia University.

He was just a good kid with a big smile every time I talked to him, at North Lenoir and after North Lenoir. Thanks to Jeff Howard and Rich Jarman, I played hoops at the LDS church in Kinston on occasion and “Big E” would be out there, playing his heart out. I’d pick on him for taking bad jumpshots and he’d pick on me by swatting my shot about 20 feet away.

He had a hearty laugh, a firm handshake, always had a mischievous gleam in his eyes and was a terrific kid.

Eric — going to miss you, dude. Please pray for his parents in this difficult time.

UPDATE 3:15 P.M.: Here is the obituary –

SNOW HILL:  Eric Kent Edge, 22, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, June 7, 2011.  Eric was born August 20, 1988, and lived most of his life in Greene County.  Eric had earned his Eagle Scout and attended Southern Virginia University following graduation from high school.  Eric loved football, both playing and watching, and he also loved fishing and swimming. He was very active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kinston and had served his two year mission in Sacramento, California. Funeral Services will be held 2:00 PM Friday, June 10, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3006 Carey Road, Kinston, NC.  Burial will follow at the Snow Hill Cemetery. Eric is survived by his parents, George Kent Edge and Cathy Doffee Edge; his sister, Kimberly Edge Reed and husband, Scott of Snow Hill; a special niece, Rossi Reed; paternal grandmother, Mary Frances Edge of Snow Hill; aunt, Sue Edge Hardison and husband, “T” of Snow Hill; uncle, Mike Edge and wife, Evette of Snow Hill; a special friend, Clinton O’Dell of Snow Hill; and many special cousins. Eric was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Otto and Carlene Doffee; and paternal grandfather, Kenneth Edge. The family will receive friends on Thursday from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at Taylor-Tyson Funeral Service, 117 NW Third Street, Snow Hill, and other times at the residence, 452 Hwy 58 South, Snow Hill. Flowers are welcome or memorials may be made to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3006 Carey Road, Kinston, NC 28501.  The family would like to express their sincere appreciation for the care provided by the Doctors and staff at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill and the Pitt Memorial Hospital Heart Center.  Online condolences may be given at www.taylor-tyson.com.