Friends remember Juwan Toney as ‘everyone’s best friend’

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – There are people in life who have a special ability to make everyone they meet feel important and valued.

Madison County High School Senior Juwan Toney was one of them. He was the student everyone knew, a friend to all, and an encouraging presence in all he did.

“Juwan always told us every single game to never give up. That goes for all of us.  As a family here at MCHS and everybody,” said Dalton Byrd, a childhood friend and teammate.

A crowd of classmates and former teammates gathered in a field at the school Thursday night to remember their friend and grieve their loss. Juwan was killed in a car crash on Maysville road last Friday – at just 18 years old and weeks from graduation.

In high school Juwan focused on academics. He was a hard-working student in advanced placement classes. But earlier in life he took to the baseball field with the “Giants.”

On Thursday, teammates donned their old jerseys and recalled memories of him on the field.

“Nearly every season he had something wrong with his arm and he was a hard player, he was a dedicated,” said friend Chris Kelly. “He took three pitches to the same arm in one game, and he kept going. And the next game was the championship and he said ‘don’t give up’ and we won it for him.”

Listening to his peers, it’s clear Juwan’s friends count themselves privileged to have known him. They speak of his smile that would light up any room. And say they know he’s smiling down on them now.

On Friday, the school will hold a fundraising basketball game with all proceeds going to help Juwan’s family pay funeral expenses. It will be in the purple gym at 2:40. Admission is $1.

Visitation  will be held at noon on Saturday at Little Flock Primitive Baptist Church in Gurley.  The funeral will follow at 1 p.m.