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'Wyatt wanted to save lives': Late football player, organ donor, honored at Collins High School

A special halftime ceremony during Senior Night honored Wyatt Williamson, a 2015 graduate. He died in 2020 from an accidental fentanyl overdose.

SHELBY COUNTY, Ky. — The band, cheerleaders and fans in the stands - all the makings of a Friday night football game at Collins High School in Shelby County.

However, this Friday was a bit more special than the rest.

A ceremony at halftime honored Wyatt Williamson, a 2015 graduate, and former Collins football player.

Julie Hofmans says a terrible accident took her son, Williamson, in 2020, but she continues to speak about the gift of life he gave to others after his untimely death from an accidental fentanyl overdose.

"I'm just driven to try to save lives,” Hofmans said. “That's my main goal. It was very clear to me that Wyatt wanted to save lives because he was an organ donor.”

During the presentation, his donations were on display for everyone to see.

Credit: Bobbi McSwine/WHAS-TV
Collins High School had a special halftime ceremony honoring a late alum, Wyatt Williamson, who was also an organ donor. Oct. 28, 2022

The ceremony brought the family and one recipient together.

"I think right now, he's looking down and seeing this and he's smiling,” Chase Best, a kidney recipient, said. “This is what he wanted if he ever left us."

Best suffered with kidney disease since he was 10 years old. Now with a new kidney, he's living a healthy life, but said he's saddened to have never gotten the chance to know Williamson's bright spirit.

“I felt like I’ve known him my whole life and I never met him,” Best said. “See pictures, seeing videos, hearing stories – it’s like this is a guy I would relate with. This is a guy I would hang out with.”

Williamson's former head coach echoes those praises.

“He was such a light to our program and such a fantastic kid,” coach Jerry Lucas said.

Game attendees could even sign up to become an organ donor.

"You never know when it may be a family member or a friend whose life you may save,” Lawrence Montalto, double organ recipient and employee with Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, said.

Now, Williamson lives on in others, and a memorial bench will sit alongside the football field that he loved so much.

To become an organ donor through Donate Life, click here.

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