Nov. 13—NORTH WALPOLE — Community members grieving the death of a local man in a vehicle crash three weeks ago and a Rockingham, Vt., resident close to the man's family are rallying to memorialize him with a bench to be installed at the town park.
Isaac Given, 20, was traveling north on Route 12 the night of Oct. 20 while riding in a 2002 Ford Focus with two 17-year-olds from Charlestown, one of whom was a driver and one a passenger, according to Charlestown police.
Just south of Main Street, their car collided with a bear crossing the road, disabling the vehicle. Police said Given died as he and the other occupants were outside their car checking the damage when he was struck by a 2017 Volvo S60 driven by Gordon Dansereau, 59, of Claremont, who was traveling north on Route 12.
Charlestown Police Chief Patrick Connors later said that Given pushed the 17-year-old driver of the Ford Focus out of the way of the oncoming Volvo S60. Connors added that police deemed the crash "a tragic accident" based on the factors of where the Ford Focus was on the road and the time of day.
Given was a 2022 graduate of Fall Mountain Regional High School in Langdon, while Dansereau is Fall Mountain's athletic director, N.H. School Administrative Unit 60 Superintendent Brendan Minnihan said previously.
"[Given] had teachers from grades K-12 at his [funeral] services," said Zandrea Boudrieau, a painter in Rockingham, Vt. "Over 500 people's signatures took up two guestbooks and still not everyone signed."
Boudrieau, 55, is a former relative by marriage to Given's family and noted her daughter is his cousin. She said Given's sacrifice aligned with his moral character.
"Isaac was always quick to give somebody a hand if you needed anything; Isaac was right there to help," Boudrieau said. "... His last act in life was to save his friend from getting hit, which meant he didn't have time [to save] himself."
It was that altruism that prompted Boudrieau to organize a GoFundMe campaign with the aim of commissioning a granite memorial bench to be installed in North Walpole Village Park. It is expected to feature an engraving of Given's name, other information about him and a photo of him. As of Saturday afternoon, the campaign has garnered $475 in donations out of a $3,500 goal.
"In the summer there's big-screen movies and ... Isaac used to enjoy going there and watching the movies," Boudrieau said. "I thought a bench there would be a good place for all his friends to gather and remember him."
Should donations exceed the $3,500 goal, Boudrieau said she and the Given family are arranging for those funds to be donated to the park for future events, the Fall Mountain Food Shelf in Alstead and the Sullivan County Humane Society in Claremont in the names of Isaac and his dog, Loki.
Given's older sister, Shyanne, verified the legitimacy of the GoFundMe campaign and said her family is grateful for the kindness they've received from many in the area.
"My brother was a protector of all and the happiest boy, even if the world was somewhat against him," said Shyanne, 22, who lives in North Walpole. "He always had a smile for anybody he came across."
Shyanne said she remembers her brother most enjoyed riding on four-wheel all-terrain vehicles, fishing and playing games on his PlayStation. She said it was her brother that taught her how to her to ride a bicycle and how to fish along with their grandfather.
Given was thinking of working for asphalt contractor Cold River Bridges in Walpole before his death, Shyanne said.
Crystal Barcomb, a human resources recruitment administrator in Acworth, said she feels the bench would be a fitting tribute to Given as a place to allow people to share stories and memories of him. She met Given on Mother's Day about five years ago after her sister, Isabelle Smith, formed a friendship with him.
"At 15 years old he was going to walk from downtown Charlestown to North Walpole just so he could see his mom and wish her a happy Mother's Day," Barcomb, 28, said. "[Isabelle] woke me up and asked me if I would give her friend a ride."
Barcomb said her sister and Given later dated but that even after the two broke up, Barcomb remained in daily contact with him, considering Given "still family."
"He would be friends with anyone," Barcomb said. "There was a student at [Fall Mountain's spring 2022] graduation nobody wanted to walk with that nobody really knew. Isaac chose to be one of the last people to walk across the stage because he walked down with that student so they wouldn't be walking alone."
The GoFundMe to raise money for the bench memorializing Isaac Given may be viewed at https://gofund.me/2901f465.
Trisha Nail can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1436, or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at