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6 year old recieves heros burial/newspaper article

Wilson's Mills — James Barbour and Tammy Ford say their 6-year-old son, who drowned Saturday at his grandparents' home, was an angel and a hero.
James Barbour Jr., nicknamed "Bug" and "Junior," was terrified of the water, his parents said on Monday. But it appears he jumped into the half-empty pool to save his 3-year-old sister, Alona.

"He was our hero, and he was his sister's hero," Ford said, adding that James Jr. would be buried wearing a hero pin and with a hero ribbon around his neck.

"He gave his life to save his sister," Barbour said.

In death, James Jr. will have the chance to be a hero to others too. The family is donating James Jr.'s eyes, tissue and organs, Ford said.

Ford said Alona told her she was in the water and that James Jr. "pushed up and pushed up" until she was able to get out. James Jr. then went down in the water, the youngster told her mom.

According to a sheriff's office report, deputies and EMS personnel were called to 324 Cloverdale Drive shortly before 5:30 p.m. Saturday. His family and rescue workers made several attempts to revive James Jr. at home and all the way to Johnston Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Barbour and Ford have been living there with her parents, Ronald and Debbie Ford, since moving back to their native Johnston County last month.

Ford said her children, including 9-year-old son Jordan, played outdoors often, usually riding their bikes and scooters around the house. Alona loves the water, but the pool was out of service and was supposed to be off-limits, Ford said.

Barbour and Ford said their younger son was a typical 6-year-old boy. He was garrulous and affectionate, often telling his family that he loved them several times a day.

Ford said James Jr. loved his guitar and played the game Guitar Hero. "He wanted to be a rock star," she said. "And riding bikes— that was his favorite thing in the world."

"He was your typical cool little boy," Barbour added.

Barbour said his son always asked him for a "high five and noggin," a greeting he learned from the movie "Finding Nemo."

"He would hug his brother and sister all the time, forever telling them 'I love you,'" Barbour said. The couple said they are now focused on consoling and reassuring Jordan and Alona.

Barbour said Ford's father had kept a little bit of water in the pool to find the source of a leak. Now they want to fill in the pool and build a patio overtop.

Barbour and Ford said they have been deeply touched by the outpouring of support from friends, their employers and virtual strangers.

But Barbour said he was dismayed that so much had been made of the connection between their son's death and that of Sean Paddock. The 4-year-old Smithfield boy suffocated in 2006 when his adoptive mother, Lynn Paddock, wrapped him tightly in blankets as a disciplinary technique, according to investigators.

Lynn Paddock is charged with first-degree murder and is scheduled to go on trial Aug. 20. Biologically, Sean Paddock was Ford's nephew and James Jr.'s cousin. Ford said Sean's death was perpetrated by an unrelated adoptive parent and should have no reflection on her family or her son's accidental death.

Ford and Barbour have both just started new jobs — she at the Waffle House in Smithfield and he at Celey's Quality Plumbing in Benson. Both say their new bosses have been supportive of them through their ordeal.

Several area businesses are collecting money and staging fund-raisers to help with the family's expenses, including filling in the pool.

Barbour is from Benson, and a handful of gas stations in that area are donation sites. Those who want to help may give at Blackmon's Gas and Grocery at Blackmon's Crossroads; IGA, Dunn's Gas and Grocery and Ronnie Parker's BP, all in Four Oaks; and Mike's BP and Blackmon's on 301, both in Benson.

On Monday, the family met with the pastor of Wilson's Mills Baptist Church, which will be the site of James Jr.'s funeral. The church is also collecting money for the family. Ford and Barbour say several funeral homes have offered their services, but on Monday afternoon, they weren't sure how to pick from among the offers.

Ford thinks she might have waited the table of a Selma couple, Margie and Edward Puryear, who have donated a burial plot.

The couple attended their first service Sunday at Freedom Biker Church in the Cleveland community. "I got about 200 hugs," Ford said. "There was so much love there, I didn't notice the heat."

Barbour says James Jr. would have loved the church and would have asked everyone there for a ride. A cavalcade of motorcycles will lead James Jr.'s funeral procession.

On Friday, proceeds from a church-sponsored Bike Nite at Wake County Speedway will go toward the family. The musicians from Second Chance Music Ministry will perform, and Four Kings Tattoo will have a collection spot. The event begins at 6 p.m.

"We realize how good people are," Ford sai

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