Another month, another heartbreaking loss

Photo courtesy of Portland Press Herald
Will Fulford of Kennebunk catches his breath after crossing the finish line of the 84th Boys and Girls Club Patriots Day 5-Miler in Portland in 2013. (Photo courtesy of Portland Press Herald)

For the second time in a month, I sat down at my computer and discovered the heartbreaking news.

An athlete that I had covered, had written about and remembered, had passed away before his time.

Will Fulford was 29 when he died on Sunday.

I didn’t know him well. But I remembered his name immediately.

Biddeford High track coach Will Fulford died Sunday at the age of 29.
Biddeford High track coach Will Fulford died Sunday at the age of 29.

He was a runner from Kennebunk High School in southern Maine, a region I worked in for three years. He had gone on to college and become an educator and a coach, giving back to his chosen sport by coaching cross country and track at Biddeford High School, a town over from his hometown.

How many lives in his young career had he already touched, I wondered? Not enough is the final answer.

Sadly, that’s the second time I’ve written those two sentences in a month. Last month, a state away, in New Hampshire, Bryant Lausberg died at the age 27. Drug overdose. He, too, had been a teacher and a coach.

Now both are gone.

Lausberg was done in by his inner demons. Something inside took Fulford, too, though this was vastly different.

Fulford was working out at the University of New England with his wife when he suddenly had a cardiac incident, according to newspaper accounts.

When I saw who Fulford was working out with when he died, my heart sank even deeper.

Ashley Potvin-Fulford. His wife of just over four months.

I remember Ashley well. She was a girls hockey player at Biddeford High when I worked there. A great kid, one of the special ones you never forget.

Today, she’s the head coach of the girls program. Giving back. As husband and wife, they were changing the future by having an impact on those who will carry us into our next generation of tomorrows.

I can’t imagine her world right now … the love of her life gone, her future goals and dreams shattered by a sudden and unexplainable loss.

You want to find the words to explain it, but you can’t.

Words are my life, but there’s no way to explain how the world can be like this, just plucking away loved ones in random order while evil lives on and thrives.

It’s not fair. Not for his loved ones, not for the athletes who looked up to him and learned from him.

The Biddeford Track twitter site, @biddefordtrack, tweeted out, “To the coach who has influenced so many, thank you for believing in us, for pushing us, and for making us smile-you will never be forgotten.”

I hope they never do forgot him.

Let that be Will Fulford’s legacy.

 

 

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One thought on “Another month, another heartbreaking loss

  1. Angie Ely

    What a great man and young man he was. He coached our daughter(Faith Barba) for 2 summers in Kennebunk with the USATF track club there as we were Texas transplants for those summers . He coached her and believed in her. She remembers his coaching to this day about the potential he saw in her and has built the foundation of her road to success. He would. E very proud of her today. Rest well coach

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