By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — Jonah King wanted to be a marine.
Friends and family members said he possessed all the qualities of a great one.
“He was selfless,” his brother Noah King, a U.S. Marine Corps corporal, said Tuesday evening.
But the 16-year-old won’t get the chance to follow in his brother’s footsteps.
Jonah King died Tuesday, a day after an early morning skateboarding accident on Timberlane Trail in western Rowan County.
Noah said his brother, a rising senior at West Rowan High School, was expected to join the marines when he turned 17 and then go to boot camp after graduating.
Jonah’s birthday would have been June 28.
While looking ahead to his future, Jonah enjoyed his time in school, friends said.
He was into school activities, especially sports.
During football season, Jonah carried a flag up and down the field after touchdowns and led the West Rowan High “crazies” — a group of students dedicated to cheering fanatically for everything Falcons.
Jonah was about “bringing people together,” Noah said.
“He was one of those people, when he was around he just brought everybody else’s day up,” he said.
N.C. State Highway Patrol Trooper K.G. Barringer said Jonah was critically injured about 1:30 a.m. Monday.
He was riding a longboard — a longer version of a skateboard — near his family’s home in the Summerfield subdivision off N.C. 150, and he fell in the street. He wasn’t wearing a helmet, a report said.
Friend Kevin Robinson had been following Jonah in his pickup, his headlights providing light for the longboarding.
When Jonah went down, Robinson stopped the truck and went to check on his friend, the report said. When Jonah didn’t respond, Robinson called 911. Authorities charged Robinson with driving after consuming alcohol and possession of an open container.
Initial reports indicated Jonah may have been pushed or pulled by the truck, but Barringer said that wasn’t the case.
Jonah was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Noah said he drove from Jacksonville, N.C., to the Winston-Salem hospital to be with his brother.
Jonah King died of his injuries Tuesday morning.
‘Everybody loved him’
Vehicles lined Bob White Run late Tuesday afternoon. The front porch at the King home was filled with people. So was a table and chairs beside the garage.
Jonah’s house, which was referred to by friends as “The Kings,” was always a comfort zone, friends said.
On Tuesday, it was a place for comforting each other.
Noah said the house had been full most of the day with West Rowan students and other friends stopping by to pay their respects to Jonah.
“If it’s any testament to the type of person he was, the hundreds of kids that’s been in and out of here, that definitely shows it,” he said.
One of those people was recent West grad Sarah Perrine.
“This house was a place to go when you couldn’t go anywhere else,” Perrine said.
She and Jonah were best friends, she said. A part of the same “family.”
“Everybody loved him because he loved everybody,” she said.
Alex Yost, a 2011 West Rowan grad, said Jonah was excited about joining the marines.
He was also excited about helping others, Yost said.
“He was one of the best people I ever met,” he said. “He made sure whatever he could do to make the day better — he would do it.”
Dozens turned out Monday night to spray paint the West Rowan High school rock.
“Stay strong, Jonah,” it read.
Tuesday afternoon it was changed to, “Long live the king!”
The 16-year-old was an organ donor.
At the hospital, when an organ donor dies, they raise a small white flag in honor of the person.
At 5:15 p.m., Jonah’s mother, Jackie, called the home.
As the flag was raised, those at the house put the phone on speaker and listened.
Once again, he was bringing those closest to him together.
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.