WELEETKA, Oklahoma – Two small town community members came together to honor the late Cody Parrick during a rivalry basketball game on Weleetka’s home turf on Dec. 13.
As the Weleetka V. Wilson boys’ game was starting, the crowd had their teddy bears in hand and their eyes on the Outlaws goal. As the first goal was made from the home team, teddy bears started coming from all sides of the court even from the opposing teams’ fans. Teddy bears covered the basketball floor and were gathered for a donation to Shriners’ Children Hospital.
According to Weleetka Public School Paraprofessional, Transitional Director and mother to Parrick Greta Richards, her motorcycle group Americas Guardians Motorcycle Club was the ones to gather the bears and take them to the hospital.
Superintendent Chris Carter suggested the event during last years basketball season making this the second year.
“It was really good to see everyone come together, you know they were going against each other in basketball but they came together for just a moment to honor Cody,” Richards said. “I loved it.”
Over 150 bears were donated to honor Parrick. He had once been a patient at Shriners due to his diagnosis of cerebral palsy at a young age. The organization assisted her family in every way possible, which meant a lot to Richards’s as she had extended stays far from home at the hospital with her young son.
“You know you have your bills and financial things at home,” Richards said. “They provide everything for the family while they are there.”
The items collected are used for holidays and other times of needed comfort including Christmas, Easter, birthday, tooth fairy, post-operation, pre-op, help with loneliness.
In addition to the Teddy Bear toss, Richards’s hosts a toy drive that is apart of the donation made to the hospital. That is why Richards’s chose to donate to the hospital and has for many years and even consistently since Parricks’ tragic death at just 20 years old in 2015.
After leaving for Rocklahoma one hot summer with his best friend from school Ben Baber, families started to worry when the three-day concert was over and the boys hadn’t returned home.
With less than a two-hour drive home, each family knew something had gone wrong. This was unlike the best friend pair who was both loved by everyone in the community.
Richards calls her son a socialite and Baber was not much different, they were both proud to be Weleetka Outlaws.
The duo had been missing for two weeks before they were found submerged in Eufaula Lake in a vehicular accidental drowning near Onapa.
For Richards, these events help her cope as well as carry on Parrick’s legacy.
She carries lots of memories of her son and one in particular has stayed with her through years, a conversation between her and Parrick when he was just ten years old.
“We were on our way home and Cody had asked me, ‘mom, how will you know if you were successful?’ I said, if I laughed enough, how about you? He said, ‘Well if I have family, house and a good job.
The next day, taking the same way home, he says, ‘Can I have a do over?’ I had no idea what he was talking about,” she said laughing.
Parrick asked his mom the same thing and she gave him the same answer.
“Okay your turn, how will you know if you’re successful,” she said to him. He replies with, “If I make you laugh enough.”
Richards remembers the brief conversation with her ten year old like it was yesterday and will continue to laugh and carry on his legacy.
Richards claims there are over 3,000 Oklahoma children who are currently recieving some sort of care from the Shriners hospital for medical issues.