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Foundation fund keeps memory of Cape Fear’s Humphrey alive

I have a lot of dates saved in my calendar, most to remind me of appointments and family events. But a few are for significant memories from my 50 years in journalism.
Sadly, not all of them are good. A painful one popped up just the other day for Friday, April 5. 
The reminder simply read: Cole Humphrey 2013.
It was an incredibly tragic day in the short, accomplished life of a promising young football and baseball player from Cape Fear High School named Cole Humphrey. It was on that April 5, 11 years ago, that Humphrey lost his life in an automobile accident.
The Cape Fear community was in mourning, and I had to summon the energy to write about the tragic and far too early ending for this young man.
But in the wake of the tragedy, there has been a glimmer of sunshine through the years, thanks to the efforts of the family of Humphrey to keep his memory alive and benefit the athletic program at Cape Fear High School in the process.
Just four months after Humphrey's death, his family established the Cole Humphrey Memorial Endowment with the help of the Cumberland Community Foundation on Green Street.
At the time of the accident, Cole’s grandfather, Larry Ellis, was quoted as saying that as long as he was alive, Cole would be also.
“We’ve been able to to achieve that through the foundation,’’ Ellis said.
Largely through small donations, the foundation fund has literally grown from nothing to $141,154.81 as of the first of April.
For a time, much of the money added to the fund each year came from proceeds of an annual long distance running event the foundation put on.
Unfortunately, once the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the run was discontinued and the family hasn’t resumed it.
Ellis said the foundation has explored alternatives, but nearly all of them had hurdles caused by everything from trying to use school property to dealing with liability concerns.
“There’s a couple of things in the works, but not to the point where we can say that’s what we are going to say that’s what we are going to do,’’ Ellis said.
But while finding a major source of fundraising has been a problem, the endowment has continued to do what it originally was designed to do — keep Humphrey’s memory alive and make regular contributions to the athletic program at Cape Fear High School.
Since the fund was started, the foundation has paid out $30,090.
Most of the money has gone out in the form of donations to the football and baseball programs at Cape Fear, an annual lump sum of $5,000 that’s divided evenly between the two programs.
Ellis praised the efforts of the Cumberland Community Foundation for making the endowment happen. “They are great people to work with,’’ he said. “And we’d like to express appreciation to those who have donated to us over the years in whatever form or fashion.’’
Currently, the foundation is fully vested, and none of the money given out each year comes from the foundation’s principal. “It’s a forever thing,’’ Ellis said. “I think it says something along the lines of forever for good.’’
But with no consistent donations coming into the foundation for now, the only way it’s going to grow to put more money to work for Cape Fear is if people give to fund.
Donating to the fund isn’t hard. Just visit the Cumberland Community Foundation website and follow the links to make a donation. Look for The Cole Humphrey Memorial Endowment.
Help keep Cole Humphrey’s memory alive.
Major League Baseball season is underway and a trio of Fayetteville players are still continuing their respective careers, all currently holding spots on their team’s 40-man rosters but not all are in the majors or at full speed just yet.
The one player not currently on a big league roster is former Terry Sanford star D.J. Herz. Herz is with the Triple A Rochester Red Wings, a Washington Nationals farm team. 
Gavin Williams of Cape Fear and the Cleveland Guardians began the season on the injured list but is expected to return shortly.
Austin Warren of Terry Sanford, who was traded from the Angels to the San Francisco Giants, is still on the mend from Tommy John surgery. According to published reports, the Giants have good history bringing players back from that operation.
We suspended Athletes of the Week this week as the Cumberland County Schools are on spring break. Please save any outstanding performances from this week and make sure to nominate them for next week’s awards by noon on Wednesday, April 10.
Cole Humphrey baseball Terry Sanford Cape Fear