COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - More than 1,000 people attended the funeral of David Pollard, the Carver High School baseball coach, teacher and mentor killed in a tragic three-car accident on April 18.
The sanctuary inside Cascade Hills Church in Columbus was nearly filled to capacity Sunday afternoon as the community gave thanks for the life of Pollard.
Speaking from the podium, Pollard's childhood friend, Anson Hundley, said Pollard would want everyone to know his strategy for impacting the lives of young people in the Chattahoochee Valley.
"With hard work, dedication and going as hard as you can," Hundley said. "You can also have all the things that he had."
Hundley was just one of Pollard's close friends, students and mentors who took the stage to honor the 36-year-old's life and his contributions as a baseball coach and special education teacher.
"When I was wrong, he got into me. Bad. But, it made me better," said Kwame Holt, who considered Pollard his mentor.
Pollard's high school football coach, Charles Flowers, said he couldn't believe how dedicated David was to helping as many kids as possible.
"It was scary sometimes, because I saw so much of him in me as it was in him," Flowers said.
During the service, Pollard's family told the congregation they knew David wanted to do something special with his life, but had no idea how large David's impact was in Columbus.
"My brother said, 'I want to change lives, man. That's what I'm going to do,'" said Carlos Pollard, David's brother.
Congressman Sanford Bishop, (D - GA), also spoke at the service, recognizing Pollard's continued commitment to the improvement of Carver High School.
"Just as demonstrated a great love for people, he demonstrated an even greater love for his family," Bishop said.
Near the end of the service, Pollard's friends said they vowed to watch over his 9-year-old daughter, Joy.
"Your dad," Anson Hundley said, "he ain't gone, because every one of those men that stood up are your uncles. We'll always be there for you."
Bishop said he would recognize Pollard during the House of Representatives next session, in order to have his name permanently inscribed into the congressional archives.
Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson wrote a proclamation given to the family during the service. It said April 24, 2016 would officially be known as "David Pollard Day."
Pollard was later driven and laid to rest at Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery on St. Mary's Road.