Friends remember classmate

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 9, 2011

By Hugh Fisher
GOLD HILL ó Terry Poole still remembers the last time she said goodbye to her son, Tyler.
It was seven years ago, April 9, 2004.
Tyler, 19, met his mother at the bank before taking off on a trip to the beach.
ěHe said heíd call when he got in,î Terry said.
But Tylerís life ended in a vehicle accident, leaving friends and family stunned.
Saturday, the bittersweet anniversary was met with an outpouring of love.
Friends and family gathered for the Tyler Poole Memorial Concert at Gold Hill Park.
Though cool temperatures and the threat of rain held crowds down, organizer Haley Wishon said the all-afternoon event was a success.
Friends of Tyler staged a silent auction, raffle, fashion show and marketplace for local businesses.
Saturday evening, area band The Remingtones ó featuring former East Rowan High classmates ó took the stage.
And artist Matt Moore painted a 7-by-7-foot portrait of Tyler while the concert went on, interspersed with video footage of Tylerís home and the stretch of road where he died.
Wishon said the blending of art, music, poetry and video paid a unique tribute to the friend who meant a lot to those gathered.
ěIt was very well done,î said Gary Poole, Tylerís father.
ěIt was very heartwarming to realize that all these people had put in this effort on behalf of Tyler.î
Brandon Sides, one of Tylerís friends and member of The Remingtones, said the event was a chance to reflect and remember.
ěItís both a celebration and a memorial,î Sides said.
Other events have been held in recent years to raise money for a scholarship in Tylerís name at East Rowan.
But the friends who organized Saturdayís event also wanted to help one of their own.
Travis Casper was one of Tylerís close friends since their middle school days, Terry said.
ěIf Travis wasnít at our house spending the night, Tyler was at his,î she said. ěAll the boys felt like mine. They all called me ëMom.íî
Last July, Casper, 25, was diagnosed with Hodgkinís Lymphoma.
The diagnosis came as a shock to Casper and his friends.
ěBefore Hodgkinís, I was very active,î Casper said. ěI considered myself an amateur bodybuilder.î
Now, heís out of chemotherapy and responding well, but just starting to get back to his former level of activity, he said.
Gary Poole said that the friends who organized this memorial concert decided to donate the $1,730 raised to help with Casperís medical expenses.
He said the annual antique motorcycle exhibition, held each June in Gold Hill Park, would raise money for the scholarship in his sonís name.
Casper, who smiled shyly as he hugged Terry on seeing her the first time in several years, later said he was ěoverwhelmedî by his friendsí generosity.
The pain is still there on these bittersweet anniversaries.
ěThere is no greater heartache than to lose a child,î she said.
But, Terry said, she knows heís there. She said she feels his presence in the world around him.
ěHeís telling me, itís going to be OK,î Terry said.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editorís desk at 704-797-4244.