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Hometown Hero: Zach Hanway & Conner Feury

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Wearing worn shoes was ingrained in Eric Mercer Jr. when he started at Eastern Greenbrier Middle School in 2019.

"Where we came from in Colorado people tend to take things from you [like] if you have a new pair of shoes," said Eric Mercer Sr.

The senior Mercer says that his son opted to wear worn shoes to school because of what he had seen in his previous school.

Hoping to provide his son with a more positive educational experience Eric Mercer Sr. returned to his roots--Greenbrier County, West Virginia.


Little did he know he would get more than he bargained for in two 7th graders--Zach Hanway and Conner Feury.

"We were in gym class playing dodge ball and met Eric there," said Zach, "and in 8th period a couple days later he was wearing the shoes he wore before."

According to Zach the bottom of them they had no insole and they were dirty. Not knowing Eric Mercer junior's reasoning for wearing the shoes the two young men jumped into action wanting to give back to their new classmate.

"I just thought me and Conner could buy him a pair of shoes," said Zach.

Conner said he thought the idea was a great one.

"I went home and called my aunt and asked here if she could drive me to Walmart to see if we could by him shoes," said Conner.

"We gave it to him and he put 'em on and we played basketball," said Zach

Eric's dad came to school to have lunch with his son he noticed something different on his feet.

"He told me two boys bought him new shoes. Which two boys?
He pointed over to where the boys were sitting," Mercer Sr. said.

"I asked the teacher would mind asking them why they bought my son shoes?"

"She came up to us and asked us our names and wrote them on a piece of paper and I just got scared," said Zach.

"She said 'first of all they want to know are they in trouble,'" he said of the exchange.

It was a resounding no much to the students relief.

"It's unheard of you don't see that kindness," said Eric Mercer Sr.

Take a walk in the shoes of these young men at Eastern Greenbrier Middle School and you will get a crash course in generosity.

In addition to the Hometown Hero award for their kindness the Mercer's presented the young men with certificates & a gift of their own.

Joshua Bolden

WVVA Today & WVVA @ Noon Anchor

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