COVENTRY — Seven years have passed since Douglas Auger was killed in a car crash just two months after graduating from high school. And while time has ticked on, his memory has been kept alive through the unwavering efforts of his family.
“It’s important for our family that we keep Douglas’ memory alive,” Susan Auger said of her son, as she spoke Wednesday about the annual Remember Doug 5K event, to be held Sunday, Sept. 15. “The last memories that we have of him are from high school — that was an important part of his life and the only memories that we have.”
A 2012 graduate of Coventry High School, Doug was sociable and had a passion for athletics. He played on the varsity basketball team, was a member of the Coventry Soccer Association and had plenty of friends, his mom recalled.
Doug worked for the Department of Environmental Management the summer after graduation, and had plans to attend the Community College of Rhode Island in the fall. But in August, he was killed in a car accident.
Doug’s family has held a fundraising walk each year since, inviting community members to stroll Goddard Park in honor of their son’s life.
All proceeds from the event are donated in Doug’s memory to the Coventry Teachers’ Alliance scholarship fund to be awarded to Coventry High School seniors as they prepare to step into postsecondary education.
“Kids need help in life, especially with college,” Auger said. “It can be so unaffordable to many people, and every senior who applies for the scholarship will get something.”
Doug’s family has been collecting donations for the scholarship fund since immediately after his death — when he died, they asked for donations in lieu of flowers. For them, it’s felt appropriate to pay tribute to their son, who never had the chance to attend college, by helping other young people realize their dreams beyond high school.
“What better feeling is there than to help a high school person going on to college or trade school in their quest to become more educated?” Auger said. “And what a good feeling it is to remember loved ones that we’ve lost over the years.”
To date, some $70,000 has been donated to the scholarship fund in Doug’s name, about half of which was matched by the teachers’ alliance.
“That’s helped an awful lot of kids go to school,” Auger said, “and it does my heart good that people come out and remember Doug every year.”
The walk, she added, is “a win-win for everybody.”
The event will take place rain or shine on Sunday, Sept. 15 at Goddard Memorial State Park in East Greenwich. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the walk will kick off from the park carousel at 10 a.m. Food and beverages will be served, as will treats for dogs.
“The walk doesn’t take too long — it’s about an hour,” Auger added. “It’s a small amount of time for a really, really, really good cause.”