A year ago, the Henderson community and beyond was reeling from the news that NC Hwy. Patrol Trooper Brent Montgomery had died of COVID-19 at the age of 50. Today, on the one-year anniversary of his death, family, friends and are law enforcement officials turned out to remember Montgomery and all he meant to the community.
A contingent of walkers and runners set out from Kerr Lake Country Club Tuesday morning to make the 4.40-mile trek to Skipper’s Forsyth’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant and WIZS’s own John C. Rose chatted with participants before, during and after the walk/run.
Heather Montgomery said the past year had been a trial, but added that her family’s support system has been strong since her husband’s death a year ago.
“It means a lot,” Montgomery said of today’s event. “I know he’s looking down and he’s loving this.”
The 4.40-mile route is a nod to Trooper Montgomery’s call number with the NCSHP – it was C440. A coincidence that it’s 4.4 miles from their home to one of his favorite restaurants? Heather Montgomery said she didn’t think so. “That number means a lot to us,” she said.
Brent’s father, Larry Montgomery, said he was glad to see the turnout for the event, adding that he really respects the people who showed up.
His son did so much to help his family and others – “he had a way about him that just stands out among people,” the elder Montgomery said.
Alan Ellis of Skipper’s Forsyth’s Bar-B-Q said he and Brent were good friends growing up. “It’s an honor and a privilege” to remember his pal. Half the restaurant was reserved for the participants to gather for a meal to culminate the event. “I miss him every day,” Ellis said.
It’s not unusual for law enforcement officials to gather together for a meal, and Henderson Police Chief Marcus Barrow said the law enforcement community is like “a great big family.” Remembering one of their own with an event such as this is very meaningful, Barrow said.
“Brent meant a lot to a lot of us – he means a lot to this community,” he added.
First Sgt. Jeff Rowan of the Highway Patrol spoke with WIZS at KLCC before the event kicked off. He said an event in memory of Montgomery is very fitting. “This run is in memory of a great guy,” Rowan said. “We’re prepared for it and excited to get it started.”
Randy Owen also referred to the strong bonds among the brotherhood of law enforcement personnel. Owen said community leaders like Ellis who step up to provide food for first responders or others who protect the community are very much appreciated.
Trooper Elliott Fuller spoke with WIZS shortly after completing the 4.4-mile route. He runs a lot to keep in shape, but “this run is different for what it means,” Fuller said. “The reason why we’re running is what makes it important.” Brent was a guy that everybody loved – he was just a good people person…an overall good guy.”
What better way to remember their family member, friend and colleague than over a meal at a restaurant that was one of Brent’s favorites.
A community of people trying their best to honor someone gone way too soon.