by JULIE B. MAGLIO
On Sept. 12, 2019, Trevor Bowen was playing his heart out on the football field. A Hernando High School junior varsity football player, he and his team worked hard and beat a very physical Springstead Eagles team 20-6 on their turf. The next morning Sept. 13, 2019 Trevor Bowen was tragically hit by a van on California Street in Brooksville while walking to school.
He was killed instantly. It was before sunrise and still dark as he walked along the road to school after missing the bus. On Monday, FHP reported that an investigation into the crash is still underway.
His teammates would insist on playing in honor of Trevor that night against Crystal River. It was an away game for the Leopards varsity squad. The Leopards fought hard, but lost 7-0.
Mike Steele, a member of the Leopards' family was at the game. Observing the incredible support from the opposing team, Steele commented,
"It would not be fair to go without mention, the level of class that was shown tonight in Crystal River. Here is a picture of both teams praying in unity after the game tonight. Hernando High Leopards put on a good fight with heavy hearts. Although we came out on the short side, there were many lessons in class and sportsmanship that were handed down tonight that will last a lifetime. People have no idea how much more we learn from team sports that has nothing to do with the sport itself. It is a conglomerate of life lessons that we will carry from our youth to adulthood and passed down to generation after generation. As sad as today is, it was still a privilege to be a part of all of what took place tonight. I still think we live in the greatest little town in the world.... Even at the darkest of moments."
Trevor's sister, Arelys Santiago, organized a goFundme page for funeral expenses. She wrote,
"Trevor was an amazing young man with high spirits. Anyone who knew Trevor instantly fell in love with his smile and his compassion for others. He was truly a beautiful person inside and out."
Hernando High Football posted about how Trevor was community minded and always there for any project the team was involved in. Over the summer, he helped with community service at Brooksville Elementary School.
The Leopard Booster Club held a 50/50 raffle at Beef O' Brady's on Friday where 100% of the raffle proceeds were ultimately donated to Trevor's family.
A roadside memorial service was held on Monday, as family and friends gathered together to support each other in their time of grief.
Paige Sanders, a dear friend of Trevor's remarked, "All the lives that he impacted and all the people that he loved and who loved him. You have touched so many people in just the short time you have known them. And so many people love you and are absolutely crushed that you are gone- that something like this could happen to someone so young and so innocent, so kind hearted, so amazing. Trevor was many things. The thing he was, was a goofball. Trevor could light up the room by just walking in. If you were having a bad day, he made it a point to change that. Trevor was the big brother anyone could ask for. He was a brother, a son, a friend, and most of all he was family. By blood or not, many people looked at Trevor as family. There are not even words to describe our love towards Trevor besides unconditional. Although our hearts are heavy, we need to keep our hope and faith strong. We can not let this tragedy tear us down but rather build us up. Trevor Bowen was a fighter. He was a pusher so we need to be too. We just need to have faith that god gained an angel and that he’s in a better place- in no more pain. I pray healing and strength over all Trevor's blood family, football family and friends because god knows we need it. I pray we don’t let this tragedy bring us down and hold us back, but instead give us power to move forward to strive to do better and to not take anything or anyone for granted because it can be taken in a blink of an eye."
On Sept. 16, Hernando High School Athletic Director Mark Lee, wrote, "Friday morning, the Hernando Leopard Campus suffered a heartbreaking loss when sophomore Trevor Bowen passed away from an accident on his way to school. Trevor was a member of the Leopard football and weightlifting team and was known by many on the Brooksville Campus. A constant participant on many team and school functions, Trevor always had a smile and a way to put all surrounding him in a good mood. Bowen often looked to do what would make others happy and was always willing to volunteer to help children, especially in the Brooksville community. Trevor would always make comments about those he was involved with on Leopard campus as his second family. Trevor loved being a Leopard often walking or skateboarding over 5 miles to get to the campus for events. He will be deeply missed but never forgotten at Hernando High School. May you Rest in Peace Trevor Bowen #11. We know you are high in the sky looking over us. Thank you for all the memories and impact you made on a lot of us that made us better as a person."
Trevor's JV squad will be in action on Thursday Sept. 19 against Citrus Inverness. It's a home game that starts at 6pm. I'm sure Trevor's teammates would appreciate the extra support from the community.
FHP continues to investigate the crash which killed Trevor Bowen. Anyone that may have witnessed this incident along California Street on September 13th is asked to contact the FHP by calling 813-558-1800.
Edited Sept. 19, 2019 to reflect that all proceeds from the 50/50 raffle were donated to Trevor's family. Also the car wash fundraisers were cancelled for Sept. 21.