This week's Team of the Week is the Seymour Panthers and despite the football team's recent success, they're missing a key component: Charles Thornhill.
But Thornhill didn't wear pads, or throw blocks, he didn't even play football. He also didn't dribble a ball, swing a bat or score goals, not to mention he graduated Seymour High School more than 30 years ago. The only equipment Charles Thornhill ever brought to the field was his camera.
Charles had been a permanent fixture on the sideline of nearly every Seymour athletic event for the last 10 years, snapping photo after photo and often delivering them to the athletes and their families. Last month he suffered a fatal heart attack. His widow, Janice Thornhill said, "It was a shock, I guess, to everybody."
Senior Panther Macey Siegert shared a special bond with Thornhill. She said, "He just gave you inspiration, and he was there for everybody no matter if you were first place or you were last place. Charles was supposed to last forever but he didn't and it just kind of made us all aware of what can happen and how short everything can be."
Macey and the entire student body honored Charles last week at the school's pep rally. Janice was taken completely by surprise. She said, "We walked into the gym and there was a poster over on the wall that had "C.T." on it and a little halo and angel wings and that's when I realized there was something else going on. All I could think of was that it was the kind of thing my community would do and that the kids would do and I feel sure he was smiling."
The panthers also dedicated last Friday's football game to Charles. Janice remembers how he used his free time to help capture amazing moments for student athletes and their families. She said, "He especially wanted to make sure that he got shots of kids whose parents maybe couldn't come or didn't have a camera or something like that so that they would have pictures of their events too."
Janice, a Seymour High graduate as well and a die hard Panther's fan, hasn't missed a district playoff game in years. She said she'll still be at every game this year, and knows her late husband is paying close attention. "I know that he's watching, from a better seat than I have."