Paying it forward for Aaron Massengill

Published 1:24 pm Thursday, March 31, 2022

What would the late Aaron Massengill have done to celebrate his 30th birthday? According to those who knew him, more than likely he would have been helping out a friend in need. That was just the nature of the man.

Aaron’s Army took to the streets on March 30 to honor him in much the same way as was done on his birthday last year – gifting individuals with the idea of ‘paying it forward.’

On a frigid February evening in 2021, Massengill headed out in his pickup with a mission to help someone. His lifeless body was found six days later in a ditch along Ferguson Ridge Road. During those six long days and nights, frantic family and friends – and even strangers – pulled together to find Aaron. Walking grids were done as volunteers worked alongside law enforcement in the hunt. Helicopters, airplanes and even a drone were used in the search efforts.

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Over 5,600 individuals joined the Search for Aaron Massengill Facebook page group. A large portion of those individuals were actively scouring several areas, investing every moment they could spare in search for him.

Posts asking for continued prayer for the family began to fill the page as the sad news sank in to those who had invested so much of themselves in finding Aaron alive.

The page has since been developed into The Search for Justice for Aaron Massengill.

Sharon, his mother, spoke of the special birthday plans.

“It doesn’t seem possible he would have been 30 this year. It still doesn’t seem real he is gone. I honestly do not think it gets any easier.

“With the tragedy of our loss, we have been fortunate to realize our community is larger than just our geographical borders. Last year we saw firsthand with all the acts of kindness that community is not defined just by borders. With that said, I still feel so fortunate to live in this area. We have an awesome community.”

Sharon asked that those participating in the Acts of Kindness/Pay it Forward Day to post their results on the group page.

Jessie Suttles, who works at Lee #1 Convenience Store, said in her post that the employees had received a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

“They have been paying it forward all day and seeing the joy on their faces I’m sure makes Aaron proud. We all miss you stopping in to see us every single day.”

Dorothy Shuford, who had someone pay her grocery bill, posted her thoughts.

“He (Aaron) was a wonderful young man raised by a wonderful village. My daughter and I had a good cry in the car, said a prayer for his family and paid it forward; much love and strength in the days to come.”

Julie Bolden expressed in her post how wonderful she thought it was to have been a part of the Kindness Day birthday celebration.

“Happy 30th birthday Aaron in Heaven; I hope you’re dancing in the sky sweetheart.”

In her post, Ciera Campbell spoke of how she could only imagine a birthday in Heaven.

“Oh, how my heart hurts and misses that laugh and smile! As my act of kindness, I washed my Papaws old 41 Plymouth and took a family in need some groceries. Their son is diabetic and I found some sugar free candy and goodies. I know it was something he would’ve done.

“Aaron will always be celebrated and never forgotten around here.”

Campbell said in her post that she had found a photograph taken on her 16th birthday inside her Bible about a week prior. Aaron was included in the group photo.

“What a blessing that was to me,” said Campbell.

The acts of kindness have run the gamut from donating blood in Aaron’s honor to helping a grandfather out with special chores; from cooking up a special meal for a widow facing a medical procedure to chopping wood for a neighbor. Near and far, individuals took time out of their busy days to perform acts of kindness.