Mother: Son's legacy was 'to save others'

March 19, 2012|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Quinn Hoover
Photo courtesy of the Hoover family

To get in shape, Quinn Hoover used to run with truck tires attached to a cord around his waist.

The 17-year-old Clear Spring High School soccer player always trained hard, his mother, Sonja Hoover, said Monday.

But it wasn’t until a few days ago that she realized her son might have been training for a reason that he never knew.

“He was placed on this earth to save others this week,” Sonja Hoover said. “That’s his legacy. It was almost like he was preparing his body for this.”

Quinn was critically injured in a car accident early Sunday on U.S. 40 east of Clear Spring. He is to be taken off life support Tuesday at Meritus Medical Center after doctors harvest his organs, Sonja Hoover said.

Quinn earned an academic scholarship to attend McDaniel College this fall in Westminster, Md., his mother and father, Tom Hoover, said. He also planned to play soccer there.

They said their son wrote an essay submitted with his application about the spirituality and physiology of Bruce Lee.

“He wanted to be either a physical therapist or a chiropractor,” Sonja Hoover said. “He hadn’t made up his mind.”

At a young age, Quinn was involved in a variety of projects. He was just about finished with his Eagle Scout project, which involved making box houses for bats.

“It will be completed by his troop,” Tom Hoover said.

Sonja Hoover said her son came up with the idea after learning how vital bats are to the ecosystem. He also was a member of the Potamac Indian Dancers, a group that focuses on preserving Native American culture.

Quinn was an active member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Hagerstown.

“I called him my little soldier for Christ,” Sonja Hoover said. “He only lived for 17 years, but he did a lot in those 17 years.”

He traveled extensively through Europe and especially enjoyed Ireland, which he visited twice.

Sonja Hoover said her son’s accident happened when he was returning home from seeing his girlfriend. Shortly after he was taken to the hospital, about 60 people went there to be by his bedside on the fourth floor. The visitors were taken in a few at a time to pay their respects, Sonja Hoover said.

“The kids are really taking it hard,” she said.

Stan Steele, the pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, said he drove to Meritus Medical Center after the accident and was pulled over for speeding in the Dual Highway area. Steele said he told the officer why he was headed to the hospital and Steele was spared a ticket.

Steele said he stayed at the hospital through the early-morning hours Sunday to be with Quinn’s family and others who came.

Steele said “teenagers just kept coming, coming and coming.”

On Monday, Clear Spring students wore green, Quinn’s favorite color, to honor their friend.

Theo Meyers, 18, said he moved to Quinn’s neighborhood in the second grade and the two quickly became best friends.

“He was an all-around great guy,” Meyers said. “He was always smiling and always happy.”

Meyers said he was sleeping at a friend’s house early Sunday when his mother called and told him about the accident. He said he rushed to the hospital, staying there from 4:30 that morning to 5:30 Sunday evening.

“I was stunned and shocked. I didn’t believe it,” he said.

Dylynn Bartles, 18, said he also was stunned when he heard about the accident Sunday morning. He said the two had been friends for about eight years and played soccer together for the Blazers.

Bartles said a crisis team was at the high school Monday to talk to the students, who were told to celebrate Quinn’s life.

“Everyone is taking it hard,” Bartles said. “Quinn was one of those guys who could brighten your day up in an instant. He was just a great guy. As soon as he started talking, you would just smile.”

Quinn played soccer at Clear Spring High School, but he attended classes at Washington County Technical High School.

His bio-medical teacher, Sally Irwin, said he was an excellent student with a keen wit. She said she had an eerie feeling when she heard of his death. Just a month ago, the class was talking about the importance of donating organs.

“Quinn was adamant that he wanted to be an organ donor,” Irwin said. “Now, he’s going to do it.”

Steele said Quinn had a curious side to him and to illustrate the trait, Steele told a story about how Quinn questioned some people who were demonstrating about an issue in Hagerstown. The demonstrators were being confrontational, quoting scripture and Quinn wanted to know why they were taking that approach.

“A lot of teenagers today wouldn’t have done that. He was a little ahead of the curve on maturity,” Steele said.

Sonja Hoover said the family was trying to find a site for her son’s viewing and funeral to accommodate the large crowd that is expected.

She said she felt like she was in the middle of a bad dream.

“It’s a mother’s and father’s worst nightmare,” she said. “I keep thinking I’m going to wake up ... But knowing he’s going to save some people’s lives this week makes it a little bit easier.”
Staff writer Dave McMillion contributed to this story.

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