ROSWELL, Ga. — Founded after the tragic death of a Haynes Bridge Middle School student and lacrosse player Jamie McHenry, a local organization is giving back to the sports community. Earlier this month, the Live for Jamie foundation donated a lacrosse “bounce-back” wall for the school’s lacrosse programs in its continued efforts to honor the sports-crazed athlete.
“We though what better way to honor him than to give back to the local sports community that he loved so much,” Jim McHenry, Jamie’s father said. “It meant a great deal to him.”
McHenry called his son “a dad’s dream.”
“He was well liked, fun loving and always had a twinkle in his eye like he was up to something. A lot of times he was,” he said. “And he loved sports, everything about them. He couldn’t stay up to watch a lot of the late games like Monday Night Football, so he would record them and watch them the next day before school.”
He wanted to go the University of Florida and major in sports management.”
Before he had the chance, Jamie’s life was cut short while on vacation with a friend’s family in 2013. He was struck by a car while crossing the street.
McHenry and his wife, Christine, said following Jamie’s passing they looked for a way to make sense of the situation.
“We aimed to somehow try and turn a horrible tragedy into something good,” McHenry said.
The foundation was created the fall following Jamie’s death, and a year later the RocketShot 5K was created to raise funds. The run takes its name from Jamie’s lacrosse moniker — rocket shot — for his quick and powerful lacrosse shooting ability.
The event drew over 500 runners the first year and has funded the organization’s efforts the past four years.
Those endeavors include multiple improvement projects to local lacrosse facilities, the creation of a team in Jamie’s honor and scholarships for student-athletes.
At the end of each school year, students at Hillside Elementary and Haynes Bridge Middle are awarded scholarship by the foundation. The recipients are chosen by their peers and teachers based on the student’s character.
Live for Jamie also backed the new $20,000 entrance gate at Centennial’s stadium which was dedicated on Jamie’s birthday in 2016.
On Dec. 7, the organization held a dedication for a lacrosse practice wall at Centennial. The brick structure replaces the wooden wall that was in disrepair. A mural will soon be painted on the wall that includes the new Centennial lacrosse logo and goals.
The foundation’s Team 8, also recently won the Reindeer Games lacrosse tournament, beating out Lassiter, the 2016 state champions, for the tournament title.
Team 8, named after Jamie’s lacrosse number, is led by Jamie’s former coach, Frank Cecere. The team was formed with the motto, “We play for something more,” with players picked by Cecere for their character in addition to abilities on the field. Every player’s jersey number contains the number eight, with Jamie’s on the sideline during each game.
Over four years after his passing, the McHenry family is still dealing with Jamie’s passing, but hopes their foundation will shine a light from his tragic passing.
“Some of it is just a distraction,” McHenry said. “But it makes us feel like we are still taking care of him.”
For more information about Live for Jamie, visit www.liveforjamie.com.