Andrew Warren will be remembered for many things, but those who knew him best say it was his smile and outgoing personality that they will always hold close to their hearts.
Warren, just 19 years old, died from injuries he sustained in a motor vehicle crash coming home from Raleigh, where he was a student at N.C. State University’s Agricultural Institute. In the four days since his death, the community has come together to grieve the loss of the young boy, who most say has left a lasting impression on all those he knew.
Zach Darden and Warren had been best friends since they were three years old and in preschool. In first grade, Darden says the boys began to play soccer together, something they would do throughout their remaining years of school.
When the boys became seniors, Darden said they talked about plans after graduation, and the two decided to be roommates while they were students in college. Darden, along with many of his friends and teammates, has spent the last few days remembering Warren and sharing stories about the fun times they had all shared.
“He was a kind, fun-loving person who truly loved life and radiated that in everything he did,” Darden said, as he recalled the fond memories of his best friend. “He was the type of guy that had a personality that made everyone feel like his best friend. He was a true gentleman.”
Like many who have been sharing their memories of Warren in the last few days, Darden said it was his smile that he will remember the most.
“Andrew always had a smile on his face,” Darden shared. “It was his fun-loving personality that made everyone want to be around him.”
From stories of swimming in the pond near Warren’s house to Warren catching all the good fish when the duo would go fishing, Darden says he will hold all the memories of his best friend near his heart, forever.
Warren’s senior English teacher Sam Taylor shared her feelings of the former student on Facebook, and shared an excerpt from his final paper in her class.
“I know the entire community of Clinton is hurting right now,” Taylor shared on the Facebook post Saturday after learning of Andrew’s passing. “Andrew Warren was a truly outstanding young man and it was a pleasure to be his senior English teacher.”
Always caring about others, it was in that paper that Warren encouraged his peers not to do things for themselves, but for those who support you.
“The main point is to keep fighting no matter what,” Warren wrote in his final essay about overcoming obstacles. “Don’t do it for yourself, do it for your people. For me it is doing it for my coaches and everyone that supports me and the Clinton High School soccer program. The way you battle is what reveals who you really are.”
Clinton High School’s soccer coach Brad Spell says he has known Warren since the teen was in middle school. Spell served as the young man’s coach during his high school days, and like Darden, points out his smile.
“Every time you would see him, you would always notice that big smile,” Spell shared. “Andrew was just an all around good guy.”
As a sophomore, Warren moved to the varsity team, but Spell says he had to talk with his player about his physical fitness coming into a new year, and higher level.
Spell says Warren worked hard that year, and during his junior year of high school, he received the honors of All Conference, All County and All Region player.
“Andrew listened to what I said,” Spell said. “He was one of the most fit players, both mentally and physically, I’ve ever had on my team.”
Warren, who wore No. 13, was part of a record-setting team his junior year and earned 19 goals.
“This loss has definitely been a shock to everyone,” Spell added. “It truly is a terrible and tragic thing.”
In the wake of Warren’s death, The Vine Fellowship, where he was a member, held a grief service for the community, and a service honoring Warren was held at Clinton High School Monday morning. Following the Vine’s service, a group of teen gathered at the home of the Warrens to offer piece and comfort during a time of sorrow and loss.
“It says a lot about our community how the people have come together,” Spell said. “Friday night and Saturday morning, a lot of people showed up at the hospital to show their support for the family. We all want them to know that we won’t just support them now, but always.”
Spell said that it has been a blessing to see the community come together like they have, but it has been even more of a blessing to see the strong faith of the Warren family, even during this tough time.
Warren is survived by his parents, Bill and Lori Warren; three brothers, Cole, Trey and Matthew; his maternal grandparents, Danny and Ann Peterson; and paternal grandparents, Ronnie and Shelva Warren.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.