MURRAY — Just days before the fifth anniversary of the death of a longtime fixture of Calloway County’s law community, his memory was celebrated through one of his favorite activities.
Simply, former Calloway County Attorney David Harrington loved the game of golf, which is what brought community and business leaders, as well as numerous law officials, to Miller Memorial Golf Course Friday for the inaugural David Harrington Memorial Golf Scramble. However, along with celebrating his life, Friday was also about something else that meant a lot to Harrington: organ and tissue donation.
“He donated his eyes, big beautiful brown eyes, the long bones in his arms, the long bones in his legs, ligaments, tendons and skin, and (personnel at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee) told me that, except for his eyes, everything could be preserved. Years after his death, he would still be donating,” Pat said. “He could help up to 400 people.”
David died on Aug. 11, 2014, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Pat said the anniversary of the shooting was Thursday.
“It’s not about the manner of his death today, though,” Pat said. “Today, it about his giving and how he lived to help people.”
The man who succeeded David as Calloway County attorney acknowledged that quality Friday. Brian Ernstberger said he was 18 when he first began working in David’s office.
“He was gracious enough to let an 18-year-old high school student who didn’t know anything at all about law come to the office every day for an hour-and-a-half, and he was really good about answering questions,” Ernstberger said. “He did more than what most people knew and, frankly, what I knew before I got elected. He was doing the things I’m doing now and he had less staff to do it with. I don’t know how many hours he was working, but it was a lot.
“It’s been wonderful what his family has been able to do (since his death) with spreading the word (about donating) so that’s a silver lining they’ve been able to bring to this dark cloud.”
Calloway Deputy Circuit Court Clerk Tom Grantz is one of the mainstays in that office’s involvement with the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust for Life that encourages citizens to register as organ and tissue donors upon obtaining or renewing driver’s licenses. Grantz was the lead organizer for the tournament.
“I wanted to do this two years ago,” he said, noting that a family medical situation tore him away from that idea. “So we were going to do a volleyball tournament, but then someone mentioned how (David) loved golf and we determined that was the thing to do.”
Grantz said Friday’s event had 25 hole sponsors, five major sponsors and 11 four-person teams, which satisfied the goal of between 10 and 12 teams.
“The community really came together for this and it was not just with attorneys,” he said. “We had a lot of businesses and other people donating gifts, sponsoring holes, whatever they could do when we asked them for help. The’ve come through for us. Plus, I did anything I could do to let them know what this means for the Harrington family and the Trust for Life, and when it came to promoting this event, the flyers had pictures Pat had given me of David involved with golf. I mean, she had pictures of him at Pebble Beach (California), Valhalla (Louisville), even The Masters (Augusta, Georgia), where he watched events.”
For the visit to The Masters 14 to 15 years ago, David took several people with him from the Murray area. One of the travelers was current Calloway District Judge Randall Hutchens.
“I remember we took a trip with him to Augusta and we played some golf (at a course other than famed Augusta National) and we saw The Masters and it was a good time,” Hutchens recalled Friday as he prepared to play a round on a course where David experienced every golfer’s dream. “I was here with him when we were playing a tournament out here at Miller and I was standing on the tee box at 18 when he had a hole-in-one.
“It’s sad he’s not with us, but I’m glad I’m here. I didn’t think I’d get to come out here today, but I’m glad I did.”