Reporter Notebook: remembering "Big D"

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - I didn't know Darrell "Big D" Misenheimer as well as many in the community, but when I heard that he died in a single vehicle accident on Sherrills Ford Road Tuesday morning, I instantly thought back to my time working as a reporter for the WBTV Football Friday Night Show.

As you can imagine, I spent a lot of time at West Rowan shooting football games.  The thing I remember about Darrell is that as soon as I showed up, usually an hour or so before kick-off, he would always come up to chat and to offer any help that he could in making sure I got everything I needed from player rosters to a Coke at halftime.

Misenheimer died after his truck ran off the road and struck a tree.  He had just completed running his school bus route.

Fellow broadcaster Howard Platt, the longtime voice of high school football on AM-1490, WSTP, had similar experiences with Misenheimer.  Wednesday morning on the radio, Platt remembered how Misenheimer was so helpful to him in a variety of ways, like securing a phone line so that the game could be broadcast.

On social media I've noticed tributes being posted ever since it was learned that Misenheimer had been killed.

"So sad to share the news with my East Rowan classmates that Darrell Misenheimer was killed this morning in an automobile accident." Karen South Jones wrote.  "What a tragedy. I have always treasured the kindness and protection Darrell showed me during a very difficult time many years ago. Though our paths did not cross often in recent years, when they did it was a memorable experience. Blessings and comfort to his family, friends and all those who loved him."

"Big D was a great friend. We enjoyed fun times back in the day," Stan Gomez wrote.

"I just had one of those moments where you're not sure what you're going to do for the rest of day,"  friend and fellow coach Jeff Chapman said on WSTP Wednesday morning. "Dude would give you the shirt off his back, just a super human being.  He's going to be missed, you couldn't ask for a better guy. The Lord must have needed another good guy, that's all I can say.  I'm going to miss that big dude, that's for sure."

"You're just left with your thoughts and memories of a great contributor to the community," said Kent Bernhardt.

I stopped shooting football a few years ago, but when I think about those days, I often think of folks like "Big D," who were always there and quick with a smile.