Botetourt County football team supports fan after his death

(WDBJ)
Published: Oct. 3, 2017 at 6:07 PM EDT
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For years, a Botetourt County man avidly followed the Lord Botetourt high school football team. Recently though, he passed away, but it's what the football team did afterward that's catching his family by surprise.

Pauline Baumgartner, Frank Baumgartner’s wife, said, “I'll be lost without him.”

Pauline Baumgartner lost her husband, Frank, on Friday. The two shared sixty years together. Their grandson, Caleb, says his grandfather was a big outdoorsman.

Caleb Francis said, “He was just really really big into sports.”

Pauline said, “He loved football. Loved all kind of sports. 1709

Frank perhaps felt no closer to home than the home of the cavaliers.

“He always made sure that he made those games no matter how sick he was,” said Francis.

Landon Wilkes, Grandson, said, “[It] didn't matter if it was 20 degrees outside, snowing, he'd be there.”

Even though he was under hospice care - he was under the Friday night lights for every home game - including last week's matchup against Staunton River.

Wilkes said, “He'd be up there almost play calling -- he'd be like, yeah, they're going to throw a short pass this play, they're going to run it.”

With two minutes left in the game, his family says he suffered a medical emergency and passed away -- at the place he loved so much.

“It just makes me speechless, you know,” said Francis. “I'm just happy that he could be where he wanted to be.”

Jamie Harless, Lord Botetourt High School Head Football Coach, said, “It was an overwhelming feeling to know that someone cared that much about what we were doing.”

Head coach Jamie Harless never met Frank, but learned about his story after the game, which is when he made a decision.

“I just think it was the right thing to do,” said Harless.

Monday, the team showed up to Frank's visitation to pay their respects to a great fan.

Shane Wolford, Lord Botetourt Football Player, said, “He was always supporting us and we felt like we needed to support him and his family.”

Pauline said, “I couldn't believe it. I was shocked.”

Pauline also received a signed football from the entire team. It’s a bright spot in one of the family's most difficult days, and a reminder that no gesture is too small to make a difference.

Francis said, “Sometimes the small tokens mean the most. I mean, that ball is probably worth a million bucks to everyone in this family.”