Marcola son missing from 'town reunion'.
Byline: Derek Maiolo The Register-Guard
MARCOLA - More than 30 students from schools in Marcola and as far as Thurston marched Saturday morning in the town's Mary Cole Days parade to honor their friend, Chase Herrington, who died in a car crash last week.
Herrington just graduated from Mohawk High School, where he had played fullback on the football team. He would have turned 18 this month.
"He loved coming to Mary Cole Days, so we are doing this to remember him," said Kody Brewer, who has been friends with Herrington since the two were toddlers and who played with him on the team.
Organizer Val Rylands said Mary Cole Days, now in its 35th year, has always been a grass-roots effort that brings the community together.
"It's a real homespun type of event," she said. "It's our annual town reunion."
In addition to the parade, the two-day celebration offers live music, a community dance and a cornhole tournament. It is named after the town's first postmaster whose husband, Columbus, also named the town after his wife (combining her first and last name).
For Tori Klein, this Mary Cole Days was a literal family reunion. Klein, who grew up in Oregon but now lives in Sacramento, has not been to the event in 19 years. She is one of 24 family members who converged on the town for the weekend of events.
At the parade, Herrington's teammates and friends stood on a turf-floored, football-themed float with his name and jersey number - No. 25 - draped along its side.
Herrington crashed head-on into Todd Elkanah Kenady, 43, of Turner the morning of Aug. 5 after swerving into the opposing lane on Marcola Road. Kenady was killed on scene and Herrington died after being taken to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield.
Brewer described Herrington as a big personality in the town who liked to go out of his way to make people laugh.
"He was all about making himself known," Brewer said. "We figured if he wanted anything, he'd want a big old float with pictures of him, showing himself off."
For added fanfare, two boys, one on a dirt bike and the other on a four-wheeler, rode in front of the football float doing wheelies.
"He loved riding dirt bikes," said teammate Daniel Davis as he walked alongside the float down Marcola's namesake road.
With the parade being Marcola's major uniting force, where people lined the street for the length of the town, Davis said that it only felt right to honor Herrington there.
As he put it before jumping on the float for a return ride through town, "This community is a big family, and he was a part of it."
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