On the afternoon of Oct. 31, friends and family of Kaleb Duckworth organized and hosted a “Duck’s Truck and Treat” event in honor of the teenager who passed away in July.
The event, which ran from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Halloween, included dozens of decorated trucks and cars set up in rows in the Launch Trampoline Park parking lot, one of the places Kaleb Duckworth used to love hanging out with his friends in their truck beds. In addition to trick-or-treating, the event also featured free hotdogs, drinks, snow cones, cotton candy and funnel cakes.
Amanda Duckworth, Kaleb Duckworth’s mother and one of the main organizers of the event, said that the community response to the event has been overwhelming from when she first posted the idea on social media.
“People showed up and took over all the grilling so we could just enjoy it; there’s just been so much love,” Amanda Duckworth said. “And I think about 90 percent of people here I don’t know; they’re people who have followed his story and just wanted to be here for Kaleb; they have supported us through all of this.”
According to Amanda Duckworth, seeing the number of people who were impacted by her son’s story, either directly or indirectly, all together at the event made for an emotional experience for her and her family.
“Some of the nurses from the STICU and the emergency room were here, even the 911 dispatcher who took the call, so a lot of the people that were with Kaleb that night came out,” Amanda Duckworth said. “So it’s been an emotional day, just to see that many people show up for Kaleb.”
According to Kaleb’s father, Tommy Duckworth, hundreds of community members attended the event, even more than their family expected to be there.
“We’re just amazed at the turnout,” Tommy Duckworth said. “We thought that 700 hotdogs would be plenty and we had enough drinks and everything, but we ran out of everything and had to go buy more.”
Dozens of local individuals, groups and businesses helped contribute to the event through donating candy and other treats, gift baskets to raffle, hotdogs and drinks. According to Amanda Duckworth, they continued to receive donations even up to the day of the event.
“We’ve had a lot of people just show up and brought us stuff to raffle off,” Amanda Duckworth said. “Like even while we’ve been here they’ve showed up with stuff from their business and brought it and said ‘here do you wanna raffle this off?’, so that’s really cool.”
Amanda Duckworth said that she and her family have recently officially incorporated a foundation, “Love Kaleb Inc.”, in her son’s honor. Under the foundation name, they plan on contributing to the community in Kaleb’s honor as a way of keeping his memory alive.
“We have his logo and his name and motto for his foundation up,” Amanda Duckworth said. “For Thanksgiving we’re adopting four families and doing a whole Thanksgiving, for Christmas we’re gonna adopt four families between Lumpkin and Dawson and buy their kids Christmas — and we’ll do truck shows and motorcycle rides and a lot of stuff in his memory.”
The Truck and Treat event, Amanda Duckworth said, would have been something that her son would have absolutely loved.
“He would love this — he’d be right in the middle of it, probably dancing on one of these trucks,” Amanda Duckworth said. "Just everybody having fun and laughing and having a good time; that’s what he loved.”