Truck show raises $5K for Howton’s family

Thursday, September 30, 2021
Nathan Howton

The Carroll County community came together to support the family of Nathan Howton, a Eureka Springs student killed in an accidental shooting on Sept. 19, at a truck show Saturday evening.

Eureka Springs High School principal David Gilmore reported that the event raised $5,500 for Howton’s family. The show itself raised $4,400, Gilmore said, and attendees filled a boot with the remaining $1,100. Gilmore said it was heartwarming to see everyone honor Howton’s memory at an event he would have loved.

“I am very proud of the kids for putting on that truck show and raising so much money,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore was very familiar with Howton. Howton and his son were best friends, Gilmore said, and Howton was at his house regularly.

“He was just one of the family, like all the kids are,” Gilmore said. “He was very respectful, very polite and he never met a stranger.”

Howton was part of the Connect 4 program, so he spent half of each school day at Eureka Springs High School and the other half at the Connect 4 building in Berryville. Gilmore said Howton was interested in welding and determined to make a name for himself in the field. Howton wasn’t afraid of hard work, Gilmore said.

“He was an extremely hard worker,” Gilmore said. “He and several kids were doing a lot of yard work, clearing lots and that kind of thing. He was ready to work at all times.”

Senior Sierra Erickson said she had only good experiences with Howton. New to the school, Erickson said, she was immediately embraced by Howton.

“Every day, he stopped me to see how I was doing,” Erickson said. “He was so silly and he just lit up the room.”

Junior Kaylie Partee said Howton was always laughing or trying to make someone laugh.

“And there was never a time he couldn’t make you laugh,” Partee said. “Any time you were around him, you would be bursting out laughing in two minutes. He was by far the funniest person I’ve ever known, and any time you had a bad day, you could talk to him and he’d be there for you.”

Erickson remembered when a few of Howton’s friends blocked his vehicle from leaving the school parking lot. So Howton backed up slowly and cracked the grill of a truck that got too close, Erickson said.

“He helped them replace it later that night,” Erickson said. “He did it on purpose, and he did it to make everybody laugh. It’s little things like that I’ll remember.”

Partee recalled working with Howton on an assignment a few weeks ago, saying Howton couldn’t focus on the work. Instead, Partee said, Howton cracked jokes, one after another, until they were both falling over laughing.

“It’s the best time I’ve had all year with a friend, just that short 30 minutes we had together,” Partee said.

Gilmore said Howton would talk to anyone.

“He was such a lovable kid,” Gilmore said. “Even if you were mad at him, you couldn’t be mad for long. You had to love him. He was one of those kids.”

Superintendent Bryan Pruitt said Howton’s mother and grandmother worked at the school district, and his sister attends the middle school.

“He was very well-known, very liked and not only did the kids know him, but they knew his family as well,” Pruitt said.

Howton’s funeral service was held at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at First Christian Church on Passion Play Road. If you’d like to help his family, make a deposit in his name at Equity Bank.

According to a press release from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, a full investigation is ongoing but a preliminary investigation indicates the shooting was accidental.

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