After volunteering to take over arrangements for the young man’s funeral, helping raise money for that funeral and saying he will continue to do whatever he can to help the family, Brandon Hoyme repeatedly insisted he wants no credit whatsoever.
“It’s been beautiful to see,” Hoyme said. “I honestly feel the message from all this has been love God and love people. The community can come together.”
The beautiful situation Hoyme helped orchestrate, whether he wants credit or not, sprung from the tragic death Sept. 23 of Zacharie Chase Rowe, 10, of McDermott, who died along with stepfather Michael Andrus, 36, in a traffic accident on SR 73.
(Note: In a previous story on the accident, following the spelling put out by law enforcement after the initial incident, the Daily Times spelled the victim’s name “Zachary.” According to his obituary, the youngster spelled his name “Zacharie.”)
Zacharie was a fourth-grader at Northwest Elementary School. According to his obituary, he played running back and defensive end in the Northwest Youth Pee Wee Football League.
“He was just the sweetest kid,” Hoyme said. “He loved talking, he loved people, he loved football.”
As Hoyme spoke on the phone from his Portsmouth business, A Special Touch Embroidery, a customer brought in an apparently hand-carved wooden Mohawk flag, the Mohawks being the mascot of Northwest Schools. The person was hoping to sell the item to raise money for the family. Hoyme suggested a more profitable idea might be to raffle the flag off during a Northwest football game. That presumably is what eventually took place.
Football apparently really was a large part of young Zacharie’s life. Hoyme talked about numerous local scholastic football games calling for 34 seconds of silence during games following the accident. “34” was Zacharie’s number on his football squad.
According to Hoyme, probably the biggest effort to raise money for the family was a GoFundMe page which brought in over $9,000 to help cover funeral expenses for Zacharie and his stepfather.
Hoyme also talked about various football teams, and, as he put it, “nearly every elementary school in every county around here” held fundraisers of some type for Zacharie’s family.
Although he stated he personally did not want to comment on the situation, Northwest Schools Superintendent Todd Jenkins said, as superintendent, he could say the first few days after the death of any student are predictably difficult for students and staff alike. He added in this case, as Hoyme indicated, the community definitely came together and supported the family in numerous ways. He talked about not just financial support, but an outpouring of cards and messages of caring directed the family’s way.
Jenkins said a committee is handling all donations just to help ensure the public the money given has or will go towards the purposes for which it was donated.
“The whole thing is just so sad, I think everyone just wants to help in any way they can,” said Becky Glendale, a Rosemount resident who just happened to call this newspaper looking for a way to donate to help the Rowe family.
“I believe it is God’s way that we all have to pitch in when things like this happen,” Glendale said. She added it is difficult to understand why things like the accident happen in the first place but stated when tragedies occur the best things one can do is say a prayer and lend a hand.
Hoyme said he got involved with Zacharie’s family through the youngster’s grandmother who lived near his own mother’s home. Zacharie apparently spent a lot of time at his grandma’s house and offered to help Hoyme with yard work he would see the older man doing around his mother’s home. When the accident happened, Hoyme said he couldn’t help but step in, offering to take over the funeral arrangements for young Zacharie.
Hoyme secured the involvement of a Lucasville funeral home but stated he and other planners feared the home was too small to handle what could become a large public viewing for the youngster. With that in mind the viewing was switched to Northwest High School and Hoyme said attendance numbered several hundred at least.
Through Hoyme, Zacharie’s family was invited to reach out to this newspaper if they wish to do so. The Daily Times did not hear from the Rowe family.
A search for a GoFundMe page under Zacharie’s name did not yield results Monday afternoon. Hoyme was unavailable for contact and it is not clear if the fundraising page has been taken down or not. Zacharie’s obituary suggests donations can be made to the Northwest Pee Wee Football Association.
“I really just want God to get the glory from this situation,” Hoyme said in reference not only to his involvement with the aftermath of the tragedy but also what he said was the clear gush of support from the community.
“Right now, just go check on your neighbor, make sure they’re doing okay,” Hoyme said. “God said, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370-0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.