UNION MILLS — As Brett Davis and his wife made their way into the room for the South Central school board meeting Tuesday, a slew of friends and family followed behind, all donning navy T-shirts and sweatshirts with '56' plastered on them and 'Bub Davis' stretching across the back, like a jersey.
The group of supporters, ranging from elementary-schoolers to grandparents, was so large that the classroom at South Central High School couldn't fit everyone. Plenty were packed in tight outside the open door to the meeting, vying for a good enough spot in the hallway to hear Davis and others plea their case to rename the Satellites' football field, 'Field 56,' after Colton 'Bub' Davis — Brett's son and a middle-school football player at South Central who died unexpectedly on Nov. 6, 2019.
"(Bub) just loved football," Brett Davis said to the school board. "And spent more time on the football field than probably more kids that have lived out here in his three seasons. The reason I stand in front of the board tonight is to let you all know I'm not giving up on these kids, and also to bring to you guys a proposal."
The proposal is a new scoreboard, with 'Field 56' on it. A pricey endeavor, but Davis and the football staff have "many ideas on a fundraiser in mind that can be discussed at a later date."
It's possible enough money could be raised, considering Davis' online petition to rename South Central's field in honor of his son received over 3,000 signatures throughout the community.
"But yet, I realize to you (the school board), this may be just pieces of paper," Davis said. "And you guys may not want this, as it's associated with some sort of tragic event. But let's think of the many positives that can occur from this happening in our community and in the program. And I believe the kids deserve it; like I said, 'They're playing for Bub.'"
Davis isn't sure if the board will accept his proposal, considering the cost and possible association with a somber occurrence. But that won't stop him, his family, or the football staff from honoring 'Bub'.
In fact, he's already begun a scholarship in honor of his son, starting this year and expanding until 2025, for a kid in the community in college or trade school. It's a nice way for the Davises to give back to the community that has given them so much in the wake of such misfortune.
"The community has been awesome," Davis said. "Since the tragedy happened, it's been so giving. Just outpouring love, food, a phone call; it's just amazing. People are so giving, and we love that. To walk in and see the support (at the meeting today) is incredible. What I try to teach these kids is trust, friendship and teamwork; and everything else will come later. And to have their support during all this is amazing."
As the meeting came to a close, Davis and his wife walked out to a hallway full of friends and family, teary-eyed from the moving speeches to the school board. Bub's teammates all came up to Davis and hugged him. A quick embrace, followed by, "56 strong," or, "Love you." A simple gesture, showing just how tight-knit this Union Mills community is.
For now, all the Davises and the South Central community can do is wait for the board to consider the proposal. If it's rejected, that's not the end. Davis and the football staff are determined to work with the board to figure out some way to honor Bub.
South Central does not have any facilities named after anyone, but the corporation does have a policy listing guidelines for such considerations. An applicable scenario in this case reads, 'The naming of the facility is fitting memorial for the individual.'
Attempts to reach school administration were unsuccessful.