YADKINVILLE - Austin Macemore’s friends and family say his lasting legacy will undoubtedly be his love for people and his love for God.
“The most important thing is I just hope people get to know Christ,” his father, Wayne, said at Wednesday’s memorial at Starmount High School. “That’s how he lived his life. He had joy, peace and love for everybody - he never saw a stranger. That’s one thing about him, he loved everyone he came in touch with him.
“Austin showed me something that I never had - never be afraid to be a Christian,” he added.
While Austin succumbed to his second battle with cancer Tuesday morning, his memory and life will live on in the community by the people who knew and loved him.
“As parents and coaches, we try to make an impact on these kids’ lives. We try to teach them the right things and lead them down the right path,” Starmount wrestling coach David Oliver said. “Austin turns that around you. He turned the tables around on me and made an impact on my life because of the way he was leading his.
“You don’t find many young men like that. There’s not many kids you’ll coach or even ever meet who can do that,” he added.
Starmount head soccer coach Dale Draughn echoed the sentiment, saying, “when I think about Austin Macemore, a smile always comes to my face.”
“Austin was the kind of person everyone knew and loved. His heart, desire and his positive outlook were contagious,” he said. “Austin’s faith was steadfast until his untimely passing this week. You knew that Austin was a Christian by the way he carried himself and lived his life.”
Draughn recalled the summer of Austin’s sophomore season as a varsity soccer player. While training for the upcoming season, Austin told his coach that he would have to miss a few days of conditioning to take part in a church mission trip.
“We talked about the mission trip, and he said ‘I think this is my calling,’” Draughn said. “I told him by all means, if God is calling you to do this, then go and bring somebody to Christ.
“Austin went that summer, and when I first saw him after he returned, he had a big smile on his face. I asked him how the trip was and he said ‘I think I had a hand in several people coming to know our Lord Jesus Christ.’ He told me thanks and then joined his teammates for training,” he added.
Austin’s legacy and personality carried over to his peers at Starmount, Forbush and Elkin high schools, indicative of the overwhelming flood of support that hit social media websites Tuesday morning following his death.
‘Team Austin’ littered Twitter, with support coming from news station in Greensboro to football players at the University of North Carolina, as ‘Team Austin’ was eventually ‘trending’ around the area.
Forbush basketball player Hunter Gooden said, “Austin accomplished in 19 years what most people hope to accomplish in 70.”
Starmount volleyball player Ashton Gregory added, “I just realized, God has his hands full up in heaven with Meme [Brown] and Austin. There definitely won’t be a dull moment up there.”
Elkin basketball player Frank Miller tweeted “Days like today make us realize how blessed we really are. RIP Austin.”
Chloe Mabe added “All I see on my time line is ‘Team Austin’ and I love it. It’s kind of strange how one person can mean so much to a community.”
As a varsity athlete for Starmount’s wrestling and soccer teams, Austin was remembered by his coaches as a fierce competitor with a desire to win and be the best.
“As a person, he grew into a team leader. He had fought cancer and had one leg smaller than the other. One foot was two inches shorter than the other and he wore a special shoe, but when he got on the wrestling mat, he didn’t. So he had that little wobble,” Oliver explained. “But he didn’t want anybody to give him any sympathy about that - all he wanted was to do everything that every other person on our team did, and do it 10 times better or 10 times harder. He pushed himself in practice and pushed the other kids. He was a great team leader.
“As a wrestler, he was a competitor,” he continued. “I hated that he missed his senior season. I have all the confidence in the world that he could have won the conference and qualified for states. He was in the weight room six times a week. He was determined and had that drive that’s hard to find in kids. He was a fighter and he never quit. He didn’t even quit through this, but sometimes it gets you no matter what.”
Draughn said, despite his size and stature, he “always had the attitude of never giving up” on the soccer pitch.
“In soccer, Austin always thought his size and stature held him back. That was not the case,” he said. “He was his hardest critic, but he improved and worked hard in practice and in games. He always had the attitude of never, ever give up. Austin was a friend, player and all-out Ram.
“I personally will greatly miss him and miss seeing him sitting in the stands at soccer games. Every time I saw him in the stands, I thought what an amazing person. When most people would have stayed at home, he was out supporting the school and the sport he loved,” Draughn added.
Austin is survived by his beloved parents, Wayne and Teena C. Macemore, of the home; his brothers, Braedon Macemore and Colby Macemore, plus grandparents and cousins.
While Austin “went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, while surrounded by his loving family Tuesday morning,” his impact on the community will live on.
“Rest in Peace, Austin. You may be gone, but you will never, ever be forgotten,” Draughn added.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.