Former Tornadoes Remember the Life and Legacy of Troy Helton
Breeze-Courier Sports Writer TAYLORVILLE — Legacies
can be built through many different routes and avenues. Through education, a musical career or even through means of a trade.
Taylorville native and Hillsboro resident, Troy Helton, utilized his love for this activity to forge his own, sports.
Troy was born in February 1977. He was described as a ball of energy throughout Elementary and Jr. High, High School and even throughh his adult life.
In his youth, Troy was always thinking of ways to play any kind of game. His friend and family knew they could always find him on the basketball court shooting hoops or playing Little League Baseball at Manners Park. He and his friends came up with the idea of “Cup-Ball” with a wadded up paper cup when they were too young to play Pony League Baseball. Even when he wasn’t playing in the game he was playing some type of game.
In High School, Troy decided to harness that energy and joined the Taylorville High School football team. His
senior year he earned the role of Captain of the defense at his position of Middle Linebacker. Along-side him, as THS football captains, were senior teammates Matt Hart, Joe Norris and junior Jeb Odam.
Matt Hart, remembers Helton as the kid down the block who never failed to have a ball in his hand. They played just about every sport they could together always wanting to see each other in the same uniform.
“The last couple days we have all been thinking a lot about Troy.” Hart admits “I think the one word that has been coming up to mind when I think of (Troy Helton) is ’Teammate.’”
Hart’s own experience with the privilege of calling Troy his teammate goes well beyond just sharing a roll on the High School Football team.
They grew up playing baseball in Little League and basketball in Jr. High. For Helton sports was a way to show his love for others.
“He loved to play sports but he loved other people.” Hart states. “I think thats what makes him so special.”
Jeb Odam was the starting quarterback and Tornado Captain opposite Helton for
the 1994-’95 season. They also officiated together in their later years. He remembers Troy as always owning the room with his genuine, big and boisterous laugh.
“The biggest thing about Troy,” Odam reflects “Whenever he walked into a room everyone knew he was there.” And it had nothing to do with the volume of his voice. He had a unique mix of confidence and a chameleon like talent being able to blend himself into any conversation. He had a charismatic aspect on everything, especially life.
As the author of the article my knowledge on Helton was extremely limited.After hearing a plethora of stories and all the incredible qualities he had, I feel as though I was just as close with him as anyone.
Troy had a larger than life personality. He was someone who loved people, enjoyed being a teammate and everyone felt the same way about having Troy on their team.
Helton passed away on January 16, 2022 at the age of 44.
To say he will be missed is an understatement.