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Originally published: 2014-05-30 12:14:49
Last modified: 2014-05-30 12:15:34

Hunter's Heroes to aid families

by Sherrie Norris

As part of the 2014 Hunter's Heroes events to help keep alive the memory and sacrifice of fallen officer Deputy William Mast, who died in the line of duty July 26, 2012, two upcoming events scheduled for June 6-7 will extend the compassion of a unified community to two additional families in their time of need and loss.

Hunter's Heroes will sponsor a community pasta dinner from 5 p.m.  to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 6, at the Greenway Baptist Church Family Life Center. Proceeds will be donated to Katie Watson of Deep Gap.

Watson, 21, was diagnosed with epilepsy as a young child and has recently undergone major surgeries to help detect the source of her seizures. She is the daughter or Randy and Tina Watson.

This year's annual memorial run beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, will help fund educational and other needs of the young son of the late Maj. Ryan Scott David. David was one of six North Carolina Air National Guard airmen who died in a crash while fighting wildfires in Edgemont, S.D., on July 1, 2012.

Hunter's Heroes is a nonprofit organization founded by a group of individuals soon after Mast's death.

The group's first event, a memorial run for Mast to help fund a scholarship for his son, William Hunter Mast, quickly evolved into an annual event for others in the law enforcement family.

According to group spokeswoman Emily Greer, this year's fundraising efforts are extending even further into the greater community to assist others who have been faced with death and ongoing medical concerns.
The community pasta dinner will include pasta with marinara sauce (vegetarian or meat); salad; bread; drink; and dessert. Guests may dine in or take out. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children and may be purchased at the door or online at

Delivery will be available from 11 a.m.  to 7:30 p.m. for local EMS, police departments, fire departments, hospital and doctor or medical offices only.

Orders for delivery to the aforementioned locations may be placed one day in advance,  or on the day of the event, by calling (828) 773-9986.

Live entertainment will be provided by local bluegrass band High Country Boomers, with a performance by Appalachian Rhythm Clogging.

A friend of the Watson family will be speaking on Katie's behalf. A live auction will begin around 6 p.m. and door prizes will be given away throughout the evening.

There will also be family friendly games and activities for children.

The second annual balloon release in memory of Peyton Elizabeth Townsend, whose memory was honored during the 2013 event, will be held at 7:30 p.m.

Memorial Run to Honor Ellerbe-David

The 2014 Hunter's Heroes Memorial Run scheduled for Saturday, June 7, will benefit future educational needs of Rob Ellerbe David, son of Maj. Ryan Scott David and his wife, Jenny Ellerbe.

Start time for the run will be 8:30 a.m. at the Watauga County Sheriff's Office on George Wilson Road in Boone.

The 5K finish line will be at Boone Police Department; 10 mile finish Line at Blowing Rock Police Department.

Entry fee for the 5K Individual walker or runner is $25; 10 mile individual is $35; and 10 mile team member, with at least five team members registered, is $25. Public safety and military personnel will receive a $5 discount.

Online registration closes at 11:50 p.m. June 3. Mail-in registrations are required by June 4. Others may register from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday June 6, at Greenway Baptist Church Family Life Center, or from 6:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. on race day at the Watauga County Sheriff's Office.

Awards will be presented to the Top 3 male and female 5K finishers within each age group: 19 years and younger, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 plus. Top 3 overall are not eligible for age group awards.

Awards will also be presented to the Top 3 male and female 10-mile finishers. Top 2 male and female finishers (10 miler) in each age group will be presented an award. The Top 3 team finishers will also receive awards.

The awards presentation will be held at  10 a.m. in Blowing Rock Memorial Park. All winners must be present during the ceremony to claim their awards.

The annual community picnic and celebration, which is open to the public, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Blowing Rock Memorial Park. Family friendly activities will include face painting, balloon animals, air walks, games and more. Barbecue and subs with sides and drinks will be available by donation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., live entertainment will be provided by local band Appalachian Deep.

On behalf of the late Maj. David, a special guest and close family friend will address the crowd.
Various items related to Hunter's Heroes events will also be available for purchase on Friday and Saturday.

Shuttle Information

Due to limited parking spaces and higher-than-usual expected traffic on Saturday morning, there will be no parking spaces available at the Watauga County Sheriff's Office starting line or at the neighboring Oak Grove Baptist Church.

Shuttles will be available as follows: Departures from the parking deck in Blowing Rock, near the finish line, to the starting line at the sheriff's office: every 15 minutes, beginning at 6 a.m., with the last shuttle leaving promptly at 8 a.m.

Shuttles will leave the Kmart parking lot in Boone every 15 minutes beginning at 6 a.m., with the last one leaving five minutes earlier at 8:10 a.m. Shuttles will also run from the 5K finish line at the Boone Police Department to Blowing Rock Park for the celebration beginning when the first batch of runners cross the finish line.

There will be no shuttles at the end of the 10-mile race or from the celebration back to Boone.
Plan your drive to park accordingly and allow extra time for possible traffic or road conditions, organizers said.

Packet pick up, T-shirts, goodie bags and bibs for the run will be available from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 6, at the Greenway Baptist Church Family Life Center in Boone, at which time participants may also register with cash, check or credit or debit card.

To register online, visit

Volunteer assistance for both events is needed and will be greatly appreciated, including desserts for the dinner, Greer said.

For more information, email ( or call (828) 773-9986.