100-car parade sends love to family who lost beloved father, football coach

ROLESVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Nearly 100 cars, balloons, signs all paying their respects to Rod Butts, a coach and father who suddenly was found dead in his home earlier this month. Gone too soon at the age of 53.

"She told me it was the first time her kids smiled since they found their father dead," Drew Brown said.

Brown became friends with Butts years ago when their kids, Byrum and Jalen, who are now teammates at Rolesville, played Pop Warner football.

"The main thing I thought about was his son, because he and I sat at every game together," Brown said. "He calls him dude. He would just yell at him and say hey dude get in there, get in there whatever great play dude."

"He was a loyal fan, super fan," said Byrum Brown. "After every game he would come up to me and all the players and say ya'll played great, win or lose. Great man just a great man."

Due to the coronavirus and social distancing, Drew and the team mom thought a car parade would be the perfect way for Jalen's teammates to see him and let him, his mom and sister know they're thinking about them.

"It was very emotional," Drew said. "As we went by just the emotions just swelled up, my wife was crying. It was very emotional."

"Games and wins and losses that's nice and all," said Rolesville head coach Martin Samek. "That's what every coach--they worry about in the front end of it, but realistically it's about that young man."

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Samek said this is what the Rolesville Rams are all about, being there for one another on and off the field.

"We're one family," Drew said. "One big family. We love each other unconditionally and just a brother."

"It's going to be tough," Drew said. "You could always hear his voice when he was yelling. Especially, on the sidelines when his son was in after every hit, big hit he would just say yeah dude."

Rod's voice will certainly be missed by his Rolesville family next season, but the touching tribute by Jalen's teammates shows the bond of brotherhood remains tight.

"Ultimately that's what we're called to do, to love our neighbors, love one another and then when it's someone you truly care for," Drew said. "It feels good to be able to put a smile on someone's face, because I'm sure if something happened in my family I would like it to be done as well."
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