ARP, Texas — The Arp community is grieving the loss of a teenager who left a lasting impact shining his light for everyone.
Arp High School senior Thomas A. Fuller, 17, of Tyler, was driving east on County Road 285, left the roadway to the south and struck a tree, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
"He was the most stubborn hard-headed athlete you ever met," said Fuller's friend Hunter Nash.
They were best friends through out high school. He said Fuller always had a good attitude even when he got a concussion playing football.
"I go and I grab his hand and I’m like, 'look man, I’m here and he says it’s about freaking time,'" Nash said.
Recently, Thomas was able to head to state to compete in powerlifting
"Everyone stopped what they were doing to watch Thomas lift. They knew who he was and what he could do. Nobody knew how far Thomas could go," Nash said.
He lifted spirits as well.
"He was just a light. Every picture I’ve seen posted of him was him of his long hair before he cut it. I’ve never met someone who seemed to shine around them from them just being there," Nash said.
With graduation just a few weeks away, Nash and Fuller were making plans.
"He was like I got to take you hunting and we never got to go. I’d still love to go with his family," Nash said.
They were also saving up to go to Colorado and snowboard for a month, a dream Hunter says he’ll fulfill.
"I’m still going to take the trip. I’m going to find a way to bring a piece of him with me." Nash said.
He says he will carry the memories of his friend and the good times they shared.
"We all leaned on Thomas a lot more than any of us would admit. We all looked forward to seeing him. I don’t think he understood all the lives he touched, all the people he helped," Nash said.
It’s a legacy that will shine bright, just like Thomas, on and off the field.
Memorial services for Fuller are as follows:
- Visitation - Sunday, April 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Stewart Family Funeral Home in Tyler
- Funeral - Monday, May 1, at 10 a.m., also at Stewart Family Funeral Home in Tyler