Drake Guffey was a freshman at Puxico High School. He loved to hunt and fish. He was one of the coolest kids you would have ever had the privilege to meet in this lifetime.
On Sept. 7, 2019, Drake was involved in an ATV accident that cut his young life short. He passed away Sept. 14, 2019.
I saw Drake’s picture posted with a caption that read, “I will not forget you.”
The post was made by a man named Matt Mitchell, who, at the time of Drake’s accident, was facing his own possible demise, as he had been on the transplant list for three years.
Matt desperately needed a kidney transplant and was growing increasingly sicker.
Coincidentally, Drake was also a good friend of Matt’s son, Jayden... Somehow amid this horrible tragedy a miracle came forth. Matt was able to receive Drake’s kidney at the insistence of Drake’s family.
Drake was a lover of life and at 3 years old, he was already in a tree stand hunting. At 6 years old, he killed his first deer and turkey. He was an avid archery hunter. He liked frog gigging and loved bass fishing and hunting ducks and doves.
Drake also loved square dancing and the Puxico Homecoming. I bet he would have loved the new Midway as well.
But most importantly, Drake was good to his friends and a kind human being.
As a parent, my heart aches for Drake’s family. He had his cousins Morgyn and Austin, who he grew up in a household with (whom I have also watched grow into beautiful young adults); his mom and dad, Jessica Fleeman and Brian Guffey; his sister, Shelby, who is expecting her first child soon; his grandmother Marilyn Fox and grandfather Jim Nelson; and one of the most special people in his life, his Gig, his grandmother, Kathy Nelson.
But with the tragic loss, there is a bittersweet triumph. Matt will continue to have the opportunity to be a father and husband and he will also be able to carry on Drake’s legacy with a scholarship.
Drake helped several people with his organ donation. But with his kidney, he helped a beloved neighbor and friend.
The heartbreak of the community was evident. His loss left a hole in the town, but Drake was loved by everyone who met him and he is still making the world a better place with the legacy he left behind. Gig said that 10 Puxico students will receive college scholarships in his name. No doubt those same 10 classmates will continue to honor and share his memory.
To the class of 2023, remember the lessons you have learned, not only from textbooks but from the experiences and memories you have shared. Let the loss of cherished friends serve as a poignant reminder of the preciousness of life and the importance of cherishing each moment.
Drake Guffey, with his ‘Guffey Grin,’ would have graduated with his friends and classmates, Friday, May 12, 2023.
Misty DeJournett is a staff writer at the Daily American Republic. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.