May 29, 2007 - Posted at 6:49 p.m. CDT
TRUMANN-Around the city of Trumann, sighns of mourning rest on every corner. Flags have been lowered to half staff, and yellow ribbons mark a life lost.
"To see a kid try to get out and it ends up being his end. That really saddens me. To me, he was really trying to do something with his life," said Trumann Police Chief, Larry Blagg.
He remembers 23 year old Erich Smallwood as someone who worked hard for his future.
"Going into the military, I guess, was him and his brother's way of doing something productive and doing something with their lives. They never did anything wrong. Just basic teenage kids," said Blagg.
But Erich wasn't just any teenage kid. On most Friday nights he could be seen running the football for the Trumann Wildcats.
"Erich's desire was to be the best. He never complained about what he was doing. He worked for it. He was just an example to the rest of the team," said his former coach and now Trumann High Principal, Jim Montgomery.
Erich Smallwood, played football for the Wildcats all four years of his high school career, but whethter on the field or in the classroom, he was a student known by everyone at Trumann High.
"He was always humourous and always had a smile on his face. Just very memorable," said Montgomery.
Memorable indeed. Smallwood, a 2002 graduate held honors such as Mr. Trumann High, Most Memorable in his class, and a member of Who's Who in America.
"That young man gave everything he had, all the time. He was a very well liked young man. He was well respected by the rest of the students," said Montgomery.
Not only was he respected by his fellow students, but a community as a whole.
"Definitely, definitely. We will all miss Erich," said Montgomery as he began to cry.
In Smallwood's Senior year book he quoted his favorite quote from his grandfather. It read, "Victory goes to teh person that makes the next-to-last mistake."