By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
The Four Points community is grieving the loss of one of its most inspirational young men, Graylan Spring.
“We are saddened to inform that Graylan passed away Saturday, January 21, 2023, following a tragic car accident. A heartfelt thank you to the first responders and ICU staff at HCA Conroe for their valiant efforts and compassionate care,” posted the Spring family on Sunday.
Graylan graduated Vandegrift in 2022 and was a freshman on the Stephen F. Austin State University football team. The 19-year-old played wide receiver for the Vipers and Lumberjacks.
He died from injuries sustained in a collision with an 18-wheeler on January 20 near Corrigan.
“Our family would like to express immense gratitude for the outpouring of support from family and friends, the Central TX community, the SFA and Vandergrift family and all the people who graciously shared prayers and love for Graylan,” Krista and Gary Spring posted on Facebook. The family has lived in Steiner Ranch many years.
“Graylan was loved by so many and walked through this life with a generous smile and saintly heart. He will be tremendously missed and forever remembered,” the Spring family posted.
Graylan was a standout athlete in multiple sports at Vandegrift. Drew Sanders, VHS athletic coordinator and head football coach, shared that Graylan was truly a shining example of an outstanding individual:
“Graylan was one of the most others-centered people I’ve ever met in my life.
He was so caring about his teammates and his coaches and classmates. He would always ask me how my day was, which is such an unusual trait for a young person. He truly took the time to see you and get to know you. He really was mature beyond his years.
Everyone knew Graylan and wanted to be his friend. And I bet there are alot of people that would say they were his best friend, and they are all right. He really made everyone feel so great when talking to him.
There was never a time where he wasn’t smiling and enjoying what he was doing at the time. He loved practice for any of his sports he played, would smile after a stolen base in baseball, or even after a sprint in track.
He loved life. He was an encourager.
It’s a true statement when I say he was one of a kind
We will miss him forever and he will always be in our hearts.
Similar to Sanders’ reflections, another local educator and coach from Canyon Ridge Middle School was inspired by Graylan.
“I had the pleasure of teaching Graylan in my class during his 7th grade year! Graylan inspired the best in others and his legacy will live on in every life that he touched,” posed Jared Lichtenberger. “I’m praying for peace and comfort during this unimaginable time.”
Lumberjacks’ head football coach Colby Carthel said Spring was “a true champion.”
“Our hearts are broken at the loss of Graylan, and our prayers go out to the amazing Spring family,” Carthel said in a statement from SFA. “What a tremendous loss for those of us fortunate to know Graylan. He was a true champion, both on and off the field, and his legacy will love on forever within the Lumberjack football program.”
Friends of the Spring family set up the Graylan Spring Memorial Scholarship at Stephen F. Austin State University. By Tuesday, the fund hosted on GoFundMe had more than 444 donations and raised more than $66,000.
“Graylan was loved by so many and lived life light-heartedly with an easy smile and generous spirit,” according to the fund organizers. “Everyone who knew Graylan, loved him. In family tradition, Graylan was a student athlete at SFA as a wide receiver on the football team. He was adored as a son, brother, and friend. No words can express how much he will be missed by all that know and love him.”
The SFA and local communities have been gathering and praying for the Spring family. There was a candlelight vigil for Spring at Homer Bryce Stadium in Nacogdoches on Monday. Closer to home, Austin Christian Fellowship, St. Thomas More Catholic Church, and the VHS chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes all held prayer services for the Springs.
Graylan’s Celebration of Life on February 5th at 3:00 at Austin Ridge Bible Church 9300 Bee Caves Road Austin TX 78733.
“We will celebrate Graylan’s beautiful life,” posted his parents.