Friends, family of late Hagerstown teen pledge to emulate him
Participants light green candles to honor the life of Quinn Alec Hoover Friday night at Washington County Technical High School. (By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer / March 30, 2012)
He liked to brag about his body and his gardening skills, but he made a lot of bad bets and wasn’t the best storyteller, according to several of his classmates at Washington County Technical High School.
He had a weird obsession with Bruce Lee and gave great back rubs, they said.
His competitive spirit was fierce on the soccer field, but more so was his compassion and caring as a friend, Devyn Bellerive said.
Bellerive, a Tech High senior who played soccer at Boonsboro, said he met Quinn for the first time his junior year in the biomedical program at the school.
Quinn, who played soccer at Clear Spring, was his rival on the pitch, but they became friends instantly, he said.
“He turned out to be my best friend,” Bellerive said. “Me and him are alike in a lot of ways. He was a real big goofball .... I could talk to him about anything.”
Bellerive and more than 100 others, including Quinn’s family and many classmates, turned out for a candlelight vigil for the late Hagerstown teen in front of Tech High in Hagerstown as the sun set Friday night.
Hoover, 17, died hours after an early morning auto accident March 18 near Clear Spring. He was the son of Thomas Forrest Hoover and Sonja Louise Bartles Hoover of Hagerstown.
Quinn was an active honor student at Clear Spring High School and Tech High. At Clear Spring, he was a member of many extracurricular activities, excelling in soccer and track.
He was to graduate this June from both Clear Spring and Tech High. He had been accepted to McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., with an academic scholarship and hopes of playing soccer there.
With Irish music playing in the background, a tree was planted in Quinn’s honor prior to the vigil.
Representatives from The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland also recognized him for the organs that he donated, which saved the lives of three women.
Leading Friday’s ceremony, Niel Augustine, interim youth pastor at Paramount Baptist and Tech High faculty member, said he got to know Quinn over the two years that he was in the program.
“Tonight, for me, was incredible because the students really put this together,” Augustine said. “That’s the impact that Quinn Hoover had on the students here ... and also at his home school in Clear Spring. He was the type of person who would walk into the room and light it up.”
Alexa Mills, another classmate, said she and Quinn were great friends because they were the only students in the biomedical program from Clear Spring.
“We were true Clear Springers,” she said.
At the end of the ceremony, Augustine challenged everyone to live their lives as Quinn did — to see only good in others, to forget yesterday’s mistakes and to speak words of affirmation.
“Because you know if you don’t take the challenge, don’t be surprised if there’s a mysterious hip check that comes your way,” he told the crowd. “Today, I challenge you to make that pledge.”
In just 17 short years, Quinn Hoover left an impact on his community that will last a lifetime.
“When we lose someone close to us, there is a time of mourning and we want to find the best way to honor the person who we’ve lost,” Augustine said.
“Quinn lived his life with the thought of taking a stand and leaving a legacy. I just sort of felt what better way to honor Quinn than if each student and each person here tonight took a stand ... because Quinn left an incredible legacy.”