Nathan Halfmann will always be remembered as the guy with a thousand best friends. Every friend he had felt they were his best friend because he treated them as if they were. Nathan was your typical 16 year old high school student but with an uncanny knack of making friends and a heart for helping those in need. Whether you needed a hug or just a goofy smile, Nathan would be there. Nathan didn’t just root for the underdog, he befriended them; maybe because he was one himself.
School didn’t come easy for Nathan. Dyslexia made studying difficult. Sports were his passion but a heart condition made those difficult and risky. But these obstacles didn’t hold him back. Nathan pursued life with a passion and determination that made him successful and motivated others. His success wasn’t measured by grades or points per game or scores on the golf course. It was measured by how he encouraged and treated others, and stood up for the weak and marginalized. It was measured by how he cheered on his teammates and lifted them up when they were down.
Life dealt Nathan a tough hand from the start. He was brought into the world by an emergency c-section because his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. When he was 8 years old, his heart stopped on the playground at school. Thanks to a quick response by a PE teacher who revived him, and a helicopter ride to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, TX, Nathan survived. Blood tests at the hospital were normal, but through the thoroughness of the cardiologist, Nathan was sent home with a 24 hour heart monitor. Heart irregularities were detected during times of exertion in PE and sports. This led to the diagnosis of a rare, genetic heart condition called Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia or CPVT. This condition happens primarily in children and is noticed as first being an abnormal heart rhythm. When the heart rate increases, it can trigger an abnormal and irregular heart beat, also known as ventricular tachycardia. This can cause light headedness, dizziness, fainting and unfortunately, even death.
Along with this diagnosis came the difficult decision to allow Nathan to continue living life and playing the sports that he so loved while on a medication that made it possible for him to do so. Nathan made the most of the eight more years he was given and lived his life to the fullest. On May 15, 2018 Nathan, along with his teammates Austyn Riley, Hayden Kent, Garrett Townsend, and Jack Estes, became State Champions! The Pottsboro High School Golf Team won the 3A Texas High School State Championship, a highlight of Nathan’s life.
Four days later, on May 19, 2018, Nathan and three of his teammates were enjoying an evening on the lake at Highport Marina on Lake Texoma. They were swimming just off the dock using noodles for flotation devices like they had many times before. But this time it appeared on video surveillance that Nathan’s heart gave out and he slid off the noodle and went under. None of the other boys saw it happen as their backs were turned. Nathan’s body was recovered early the next morning by the Texas Game Wardens.
This is why we started Be A Friend. My wife Teresa, son Jonathan, and I thank you for helping us honor and remember our son and brother, Nathan, by supporting the Nathan Halfmann Memorial Scholarship Fund. Our goal is to fund an annual scholarship for a Pottsboro High School (PHS) senior who is not the top student or best athlete, but who loves and encourages others, stands up for the underdog, lives life to the fullest, and gives their all no matter the obstacles in their life, just like Nathan did. We allow the faculty and staff of PHS to help choose the recipient, and the scholarship will be good to any accredited trade school or school of higher education. We also aim to advocate for lake safety and 24 hour heart monitors for all school age athletes on their first physical before beginning school sports.
For more information on CPVT, you can visit: