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Stratford Academy blood drive honors student killed in lightning strike

Walker Bethune was struck by lightning last summer. The community keeps him in their hearts.

MACON, Ga. — Walker Bethune was loved by his school, his family and the community.

According to people, he was a dedicated student body president at Stratford Academy, a great friend, and an amazing son. 

After he was struck by lightning last summer in Florida, he passed away. 

The key club at his school held a Red Cross blood drive for him on Friday. 

Walker's father, David Bethune, said he always put others first.

"Walker lived an inspired life," Bethune said . "He gave everything to everybody. He just loved bigger and more bold than most."

Bethune said Walker loved God, and he had a bright future ahead of him. 

Although his death was tragic and sudden, his father is happy of the impact Walker has made. According to Walker's family, they donated his organs after he passed away.

Their goal is to continue helping others, Bethune said. 

"The ripple effect of his life has just amazed us, that's the message that we want to carry on is that everybody can have that same effect," he said.

Hollie Wangerin, one of Walker's teachers, said he was an uplifting student and quite the comedian.

During one of the public speeches he delivered in her class, he made the whole class erupt in laughter.

"He came in with a big straw hat on, and he proceeded to in the funniest accent, basically do a parody of the school, 'Imposerholi Academy,' I think, was the name of it, but it was so funny," Wangerin said. "The whole class was basically laughing by the end of it."

A key club member, Sophia Tang, said Walker was always very positive and someone she looked up to.

"He always made sure you knew you were welcomed, and you knew you were loved," Tang said.

She said he had a sunny personality.

"If I had a color to describe to him, I'd have to say it would be yellow."

She said she's grateful the blood drive was held on Walker's birthday.

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