As Americans, we often hold our individuality in high esteem, but as we journey through life, the truth is, we need a lot of help along the way; mentors to teach us how to stand in the face of life's inevitable challenges.
“The people that he has influenced over his career of 44 years of teaching and all the football, softball, basketball, baseball, track teams and students that he's had,” said Brian Walters, son of the late Darwin Walters.
In all of those decades of service, folks in Pineville and Harlan say coach Darwin Walters was their trusted rock they could always turn to for guidance.
“He was a rock in the sense that he taught kids to deal with life,” said Bart Elam, head football coach at Pineville High School.
“He was strong. He was always someone you could go to talk to, but in the same way if you were doing something wrong, he'd tell you,” said James Hubbard, senior at Pineville High School.
In 2012, Walters lost his life to lung cancer. It was a difficult time for thousands in the community who considered him part of their extended family.
“He always had advice and just the never give-up attitude, even once the cancer hit him,” said Karen Potts, a former basketball player of Coach Walters.
But even the strongest virus can't kill a legacy and that evidence was on display Friday night as Pineville and Harlan high school went head-to-head in a match to raise money to fight cancer - in coach Walters honor.
“It was an idea brought by a community member who was coached by Darwin a long time ago and I said, you know, that's an awesome idea,” Elam said.
Never give up. It’s what coach Walters taught so many folks in this area, against cancer or whatever life throws at you.
**organizers say they plan to donate the proceeds from t-shirt sales, showcasing the suspenders that coach Darwin often wore, to Chuck Fugate, one of Hazard High School's football coaches currently fighting cancer.