For Jermaine Rushton, it was all about giving back to the Walker community, and for a pair of people who knew him, there’s a big void to fill following his death July 4th.
“That was his biggest concern was being able to give back to community and give back to the kids,” Walker city councilman Eric Cook said. “That was his main goal, just giving. That was just the type of person he was. He just was a giving person.
“He was just a real good person,” continued Cook, who is also an assistant coach for the Walker basketball team. “He was a good father, a good man. He was just a good person in general.”
Cook said funeral services for Rushton, who was 37, will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, July 15 at Revival Temple in Walker.
Rushton, who graduated from Walker in 1999, rushed for 1,845 yards as a senior running back while helping the Wildcats to an 8-2 record.
Rushton coached youth baseball, football and basketball and worked as an umpire for the Walker Recreation Department, helping the Walker Biddy Basketball All-Stars to consecutive national championships.
“He was kind of like a brother to me,” said Springfield assistant basketball coach Willie Chaney, who coached in the league in Walker with Rushton for the past seven years and coached All-Stars with him. “He was one of the nicest guys I ever met. I never heard anything bad about him. I never heard him say bad words. He’s the kind of man that you would want to date your sister or your daughter. He was well-respected.”
Rushton also coached Chaney’s nephew, Darius Hampton, in All-Stars.
“It’s huge,” Chaney said of Rushton’s death and its impact on the community. “It’s rare to find somebody like him. I don’t think there will ever be somebody come through there in Walker like him that’s going to care about the kids. He (didn’t just) care about his kids, he cared about every child.”
Chaney said he’s received phone calls from friends and coaches around the state offering condolences following Rushton’s death.
“It was unexpected from everybody,” Chaney said, noting the pair would talk about Rushton’s nephew, Kedric Brown, who will be a freshman at Walker this season, and Chaney’s son, Amir, who both play AAU basketball. “There have been times throughout the day I’ve picked up the phone to dial his number or text him because we talked every single day.”
Cook said Rushton helped his players gain values that will last a lifetime.
“He just instilled a work ethic in them – just to work hard,” he said. “Don’t expect anybody to give you anything. You go out and you put the work in. Don’t cheat yourself out of anything and just develop that work ethic. That was basically it. Just be true to yourself. You get out what you put in. If you don’t put anything in, you won’t get anything out. He really tried to instill that in kids.”