CHARLOTTE – Former Croatan Graham Guthrie was honored for his military service during the Carolina Panthers game last Sunday.
The 2019 graduate is a U.S. Coast Guard Third Class Boatswain’s Mate stationed at Oak Island. He had a rare opportunity on Sept. 19 when he was asked to sit in the “honor row” for the Panthers’ home game against the New Orleans Saints.
Carolina ended up winning 26-7 in what was Guthrie’s very first game in the NFL.
“It was a good game, a cool environment,” he said. âIt was my first game in the NFL. It was really noisy. I’m a huge Steelers fan because my mom is from Pittsburgh, but I’ll support the Panthers if they don’t play against the Steelers.
Guthrie attended the game with another coast guard from his cutter, Seaman Jerry Anson. He has been on active duty since August 2019 after graduating from Croatan. A childhood spent near the ocean led Guthrie to explore the military branch as a career option.
âI grew up on the water and saw them all the time on the boat,â he said. âI always thought that would be a pretty cool job, then after Hurricane Florence, we rented a house right next to the station, and I toured and everything. I knew it was something I really wanted to do.
He added: âI feel very successful in the work that I do. At the moment, I am on a soft buoy. So we fix the aids in the water, or if a canal moves, we adjust the buoys and make sure the boats pass safely. “
Guthrie was a star in boys’ football in his time in Croatan. No one has scored more goals than he has in a rare four-year college run. He registered 11 goals and 4 assists in senior, 15 and 5 in junior, 7 and 7 in second year and 7 and 4 in first year.
The Cougars finished 14-10 overall and 12-2 in the 1A / 2A Coastal 8 Conference in its final season. He was one of many cheering the Cougars towards their 2A State Championship in the spring.
âI think about the team all the time,â said Guthrie. âI miss playing with all my friends and being part of the team. I saw the state championship and got to congratulate my former teammates and coach (Paul) Slater.
Guthrie has also been busy entrepreneurially since graduating. While stationed in Portsmouth, Virginia, he came up with the idea of ââmaking homemade t-shirts.
âWe were on patrol near South America,â he said, âand I thought it would be a good idea to put old photos of my family on the back of the t-shirts, to see if I could do something with it. “
The idea took off and turned into a business called Cedar Point Clothing Company. With the help of his mother, Guthrie uses Southern Angel Tees in Richlands to create clothing and merchandise centered on Cedar Point.