Friends start #RiseLikeRed movement

Published 11:59 pm Monday, May 14, 2018

NATCHEZ — The day before Derek Jarvis’s funeral last week, a group of his family, friends and former classmates gathered in the Natchez High School gym for a memorial in honor of the guy everyone knew as Big Red.

Many tear-stained faces were evident in the sea of red shirts filling the gym to remember Jarvis who died unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago in Hattiesburg where he was most recently a coach at Hattiesburg High School.

They’ve turned their grief into a movement #RiseLikeRed on social media platforms to keep his memory alive and pay forward the love and encouragement he displayed to everyone he met.

Email newsletter signup

“I think it’s incredible this one man has really been able to unite this community,” said the Rev. Joseph Smith, who spoke during the program, recounting memories and giving inspiration to those touched by Big Red.

Smith said he knew Jarvis since the second grade when they both attended Morgantown Elementary.

“Since that time we have been fast friends, he has had an open heart,” Smith said.

He said everyone in their graduating class felt like they were best friends with Big Red.

“We all started talking and sharing stories, and we were like ‘Oh he called you, too.’ He sent you cards on your birthday as well,” Smith said, “What we learned was that’s who he was. That’s the type of man he was, very open hearted and generous. He never met a stranger.”

The day Jarvis met his wife, Sadora Jarvis, he told her father and step-mother that he would marry her. “He kept his promise” Jarvis said, “And I loved him for that.”

She said the two were total opposites.

“He would speak for me,” she said. “He was my voice. He was an extrovert, and I was an introvert. I had to be selfless to the lifestyle that we had, because I always had to share him, but I was always there to support him.”

She said he always got her to push through, that he helped her to live, to achieve the things she wanted to do.

For Burton Broudy, who went through elementary, middle school and high school with Jarvis, carrying on will be learning to accept that he will never get another phone call, or hug from a person who was not only a teammate but also was someone he called family. 

He said Big Red couldn’t go long without talking.

“That’s something I’m really going to miss and going to be really hard to get over because I treasured those calls,” Broudy said, “I’d get those calls often from Red. And, you know … it just, it’s just hard just to think about because he’s gone, and I won’t be able to touch him, but I know he’s there in spirit.”

Continuing his legacy is what Smith said #RiseLikeRed is all about. He said it is a movement that does not just stop after Jarvis’ burial, and it is going to live on long.