School officials remember teens lost in weekend accident

Thom Hanrahan Brownwood Bulletin Editor
Administrators at Brownwood and Zephyr high schools remember Bolton Day and Billy Jones.

In the wake of a weekend wreck that claimed the lives of two area teens, officials in their school districts remembered them as hard workers who were always there to lend a hand.

Brownwood High School assistant principal and former coach Mitch Moore, who will take over as BHS principal at the end of the school year, said Jones’ good cheer will be sorely missed.

“Billy was a young man that seemed to enjoy life,” Moore said. “As he walked the halls at BHS he could be seen with a smile on his face. BHS has lost a friend, teammate, classmate, and student, but we will forever cherish and hold tight to the memories of Billy Jones.”

Moore was in attendance when the Lions baseball team gathered Sunday in an effort to come to grips with the tragedy that had unfolded hours earlier. The Lions had competed in the Hill Country Classic in Llano on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Moore said Lions baseball head coach Herb Rios talked of how Billy was not only fun to coach, but fun to be around. And fellow senior Elijah Salazar challenged the team to honor the memory of Billy by being unselfish and to play as a team just like Billy would want.  

“Billy committed himself to being a part of the Lions and to play whatever role he could to ensure success, which often kept everyone in the dugout relaxed and loose,” Moore said.

The Lions baseball team’s first game without Jones is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday against Snyder at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.

Brownwood ISD Superintendent Reece Blincoe said that Jones’ loss is being felt hard by his teammates.

“It is tragic,” he said. “We are very, very saddened. It is hitting our baseball team and coaches hard.”

Blincoe said that the academic calendar may help in dealing with such a tragic loss.

“It may help a little that we are on spring break,” he said. “It might have hit us harder had we been in school.

“When school resumes, we will have all the necessary staff available for the kids if they feel they need to visit about this.”

A 2013 graduate of Zephyr High School, Bolton Day was someone whose personality was infectious, according to Zephyr Superintendent Stanton Marwitz.

“When he would start laughing, he couldn’t stop,” Marwitz said. “He’d be rolling. He was always smiling and always had a good attitude.”

Like Jones, Day was a high school athlete and his loss was an extremely tough one, Marwitz said.

“He played basketball for me, he played football and he helped out with ag. He was real active in everything we did.

“He was always the first to volunteer. And he would be the first to arrive and the last to leave.”

David Whisenhunt, Marwitz’s predecessor as superintendent, also noted that drive.

“He was probably one of the best workers we ever had go through our schools,” he said. “He was always volunteering to help the school. I mean, he did everything from mow grass to get things ready for concession stands for ball games.

“He was constantly helping out around the school. Anything that needed to be done and boom, he’d stop and give you a hand.”

And Whisenhunt said that translated to sports, as well.

“He was a good athlete and the coaches just loved him because he would give you everything he had every ball game,” Whisenhunt said.

Marwitz said that Day had an effect on people.

“He was one of those kids that was likeable,” Marwitz said. “He was liked by everybody – students, faculty, parents.

“Everybody loved Bolton.”

Whisenhunt agreed.

“He was a delight to be around,” he said. “We just loved him to death.

“He is always going to be dearly missed. There is no doubt. You couldn’t ask for anything more. I would like to have several more around the school just like him.”

Marwitz said he is thankful for the time people at Zephyr had with Day.

“He was just one of those people with his personality and his work ethic and the things he did would affect a lot of people in a lot of positive ways,” he said. “I am thankful and blessed that we all had an opportunity to be a part of his life and that we had an opportunity to be a part of ours.

“It is hard to swallow, but I am thankful for the time we had to spend with him. He was a blessing to be around.”