On July 30, 1993, Colton Alexander Stout came into this world with a smile on his face and a heart made of gold. Even as a young preschooler, he touched everyone he met. He left a lasting impression even to those who only knew him for as little as 30 minutes. That is, until I received a phone call from a nurse at UT Hospital in Knoxville, TN.
Let me roll back time for just a minute.
From age 4, Colton knew he wanted to be a fireman. While in high school he went back and forth between wanting to be a history teacher or fireman. After graduating in 2011, Colton volunteered for and was trained at the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department. During that time, he attended Roane State Community College in Knoxville to study to be an EMT.
After passing his certification, Colton began work at the Campbell County EMS, 7 days on, 7 days off, 12 hour shifts. He was passionate about his work and the people that he cared for.
Part of his responsibilities as an EMT was to transport nursing home patients to their doctors’ appointments. I asked him once how he treated them. Without missing a beat he said, "I treat them as if they were Grandma and Poppa." This was written on the funeral home's website in the online comments under his obituary:
Colton never forgot his dream of wanting to be a teacher. So, at the age of 19, on his off weeks from work, he was a substitute teacher for the Anderson County School System. At the same time, he taught Emergency Medical Responder class 2 nights a week while also taking classes at Roane State Community College. As busy as he was, he never complained about going to work. He would help out his co-workers, taking their shift if they needed to be off. They in turn, loved him.
Colton and his brother, Conor were saved and baptized on April 30, 2006. In high school, Colton went on a mission trip to work at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic with his youth group from Calvary Baptist. The first thing he said to me upon return was, "Can we adopt these two little boys I met?" I told both my children often they were much better kids than I EVER was and that I was so proud of each of them.
He loved to 4-wheel up on Windrock Mountain, ride his crotch rocket, spend time with friends, play video games and rough house with our dogs. He was also teaching himself to play the harmonica. When he met someone for the first time he wanted to know their story, what they did, how they thought. He was genuine and truly interested in them and people responded to that.
Colton was loved and respected by everyone that met him. He lived more in his 20 1/2 years than most do in a lifetime.
On Thursday, January 30, 2014, while at work, my boss came to tell me that Colton had been in a car wreck and I needed to go to UT Hospital. First thing I thought was, well dang, ok...until about 30 seconds later it hit me that he said I was supposed to go to the hospital, which meant
Colton was hurt...or worse. I was very shook up and my boss offered to drive me to the hospital. After getting in the van, I called the Oak Ridge police department to see what had happened. The dispatcher said she would find out and call me back. My phone rang a couple of minutes later and it was a nurse at UT..."Ms. Stout?" he asked quietly while I screamed into the phone to just tell me how he was!!!!! All I heard was, "I'm sorry..." I will spare you and myself the details of what happened after that. At the age of 20 years and 6 months, my firstborn, the one who was most like me, was killed in a single car accident on a road close to home in Oak Ridge. I never realized how many people he touched and were heartbroken to hear this news.
Upon arriving at the hospital the lobby and the room the nurse put me in was filled with Colton's supervisors, co-workers and his fireman buddies.
The Colton Stout Scholarship Fund has been created to honor the memory of a well-loved, much missed young man. It is our goal to award these scholarships to deserving men and women who exemplify Colton's character, morals and work ethic. Keeping his memory alive by doing for others, helping make their dreams come true, in a way that would make him proud, is the least we can do.