How do you pay tribute to someone who meant so much to the children of your community? That's the question one man is facing after a youth baseball coach and his young son were killed in last week's tornado. He hopes his plan will be fitting.
There was no place Terry Curtis would rather be than on the field with his six-year-old little boy, Dawson. The two bonded through a shared love of baseball.
"He enjoyed being with his kids," said Dustin Allen, who runs Putnam County Youth Baseball. "The biggest thing to him was spending time with his kids and teaching his kids the game. That was what he wanted to do."
Allen knew Curtis as a man with the right patience and care to be a great coach, a coach his community won't forget.
"It looks like the tornado came this way and just cleaned out everything in its path," said Allen, walking through the devastation. "Right here's where Terry's house sat. It just totally wiped it out. They said when they first got out here, the only thing that was left was just cinder blocks and the ground."
In the tornado one week ago, Curtis and his son, Dawson, were both killed. Curtis's wife remains in the hospital.
"This is such a sad event for our whole county," said Allen. "Devastation like this doesn't happen in our community. I just wanted to pay tribute to everyone involved."
Allen's doing that in the way he can.
He's putting Curtis's name on the uniform of every player in his league while every ballfield will display the names of the friends and neighbors killed in the tornado. Finally, Allen is starting a memorial scholarship in Curtis's name so a child can participate in the game whose family went through the tornado or otherwise can't afford to play.
"Just driving down the road, a road I've been on many, many times in my life, I just come to a stopping point, and I'm lost," said Allen, looking out over the crumbled houses. "It's crazy. It's not even the same."
Next to where Curtis's house once stood, there's a lone baseball. Allen said while his community has to do what it can to rebuild, it also has to remember and honor grieving families, like the family who lost Curtis and Dawson.
"We all love them," he said. "We're all thinking about them."
This article initially appeared on WSMV.