When Corban was about 10 months old his mom took him to “Mommy and Me” swimming lessons. He would slide down the Little Tikes slide into his mom’s arms, swim to the side, hoist himself out of the water with his little, well-defined, muscular arms, step over toys, hoses, etc. around the poolside and slide again. The well-seasoned YMCA teacher was amazed at baby Corban’s balance and agility - he made her nervous!
Corban never stopped going. On his 3rd birthday he received a Jeep to drive in the yard and chauffeured many little friends around as leaves crunched under the spinning wheels. After the party his parents noticed him limping slightly, but he kept going. He was walking through the back yard and collapsed due to leg pain. After an emergency room visit and Xrays, Corban’s parents were told that it appeared Corban had cancer. This diagnosis was confirmed by another doctor at another hospital.
Soon the family was seen at the Children’s Oncology Department at Vanderbilt University. The final diagnosis: Corban had had a stress fracture in his leg and it was healing. The appearance of the healing tissue on x-rays and scans mimicked cancerous cells. This would mean he had never complained of pain or limped until well after the healing began?!
Corban’s parents still believe that God performed a miracle for Corban. A wise friend had cautioned, in the middle of their uncertainty, fear, angst, “When God takes care of this, and He will, don’t let them explain away the miracle.” Indeed.
At 4 years old Corban started playing community soccer. His patient coach still comments that Corban was an incredibly fast 4 year old - he just had to focus his gift of speed. He did. Corban played soccer through high school and goalied his Junior and Senior years. At well over 200 pounds, a muscular Corban would dive and throw himself in front of the ball. He was never afraid to put himself out there in the sports arena. This lead to a close relationship with his high school athletic trainer, whom he spent time with nearly every day.
In the middle of a tough soccer game against a local rival, one of the full-backs playing near the goal got a leg cramp. As the game continued the player dropped to the ground, and while Goalie Corban watched the action on the other end of the field, he stretched the other player’s hamstring to relieve the cramp. Would Corban become an athletic trainer? He was considering it.
Corban played football starting in middle school and through high school. The brotherhood found in this sport especially mattered to him. Teenage boys don’t always make wise choices, but Corban never drank or touched a drug. As an older teen, his folks noticed that he would come home, sit down to watch a game, get a text or call, leave, come back in a few minutes. This happened frequently. One night, in frustration, Corban said, “These people have got to get it together! I’m not an Uber driver.” When his dad asked what he meant, Corban explained that he was known as a secret “designated driver” for several buddies. This went on for years.
Corban never shared details of these encounters, but many people made it home safely thanks to him, and friends from various walks of life regularly share about his steadfast friendship and support.
Soon after becoming 16 Corban began working for a moving company for 5 years. On a trip out of town, while packing up a house, he noticed smoke coming from a house down the street. He ran down the street then beat and beat on the front door - he said he just knew someone was in the house. The entire deck and kitchen were engulfed in flames! Finally a young man, who’d been in the basement - online gaming with headphones on - came to the door, angry. He had no idea the house was on fire. Corban helped him remove things from his home. Corban saved his life. After the fire engines came, the fire fighters found Corban to thank him. His co-worker wrote to Corban’s parents “I just wanted you to know that he acted like a Godly man. He saw the smoke and started running to help…”
As one might imagine having been born naturally strong, and having played multiple sports throughout his life (soccer, basketball, football and even cheerleading once in his off season, as well as working for a moving company, Corban was powerfully built. In later high school years, he started working out more, focusing on fitness and gaining muscle. After high school, he turned more to the gym, body building and lifting, and serving as a referee for the Intramural Sports program at his university.
College during COVID had been a giant disappointment and he missed the brotherhood of high school. At 21, Corban realized he didn’t need a Criminal Justice degree to serve. He decided to go into law enforcement and after completing the requirements, joined local law enforcement. He was assigned as a Corrections Officer. He was so very, very proud. He quickly adapted to his new environment and excelled. He had found his people.
Corban was in an off-duty, single-car crash the night of October 8th, 2022, and left us three weeks before his 22nd birthday.
That terrible night the first responders treated Corban and his family with the utmost compassion and respect. When the paramedics got to Corban, who was pinned in his car, he was able to tell them his name and share other details. First responders stayed with him and were there when he said, “Well I’m gonna leave now”. His family knows he took his next breath in Heaven, looking at Jesus and surrounded by people who love him, and that he is expecting us to join him one day.
First responders were there for Corban. They were incredibly kind to Corban’s parents. This is indeed a holy task for these unsung heroes - hearing and sharing a soul’s last earthly words. Comforting people on the worst day of their lives…Corban’s parents will forever be grateful.
At Corban’s Celebration of Life and in the days, weeks, and months to follow, story after story came to light. A burly, bearded young man came through to share that “if not for Corban” he wouldn’t have played high school football. He wanted to play but had no transportation to/from practice. Corban had gone to him and asked if he wanted to play. When the boy said yes, Corban told him he would be his transportation. And Corban was faithful to his promise.
A young lady explained she still had clothes he had bought for her. Many friends talk of the workouts he encouraged and coached. Sheriff’s Department co-workers and bosses explained that even in his short time there, Corban made them feel seen - he made a huge impact that continues to be felt. A young cashier told Corban’s mom that when a guy in high school was picking on her, Corban stood up for her and the guy backed off. An older lady explained that while the young men at the gym ignored “us old folks”, Corban always spoke and asked how she was. With tears she explained that she didn’t know his name until she saw his picture in the newspaper.
Corban’s work ethic and treatment of prisoners was noticed by the sheriff. Also a man who’d been arrested for drunk driving with his child in the car told of Corban sitting down beside him and encouraging him, “What are you thinking, man? This isn’t who you are.” In speaking of the prisoners he worked with, Corban said, “They’re just people who’ve made mistakes living their consequences. I treat them like people.”
Corban’s parents could not be prouder of their son. To honor his young life’s work and in hopes of continuing to support those he loved, Serve Strong: The Corban Scott Goad Memorial Foundation has been established.
(Photo below was taken outside Corban's Memorial Service. Several representatives of local law enforcement and peers of Corbans's from our local sheriff's department were posted outside and inside during the service.)