Remembering Cole: golf outing in Wellsburg will honor fallen friend

Aaron Bell (left) and Cole Rabbitt (right) are shown together on the day of Bell’s wedding, August 12. Rabbitt, a Wellsburg native, died the next day after an accident on Highway 14, and a memorial golf outing will be held at the Meadowbrook Golf Course on Sunday to assist with funeral expenses. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Bell) 

August 12 was the best day of Aaron Bell’s life. August 13 was undoubtedly the worst.


Less than 24 hours after marrying his wife, Bell woke up at a hotel in Ames and got word that one of his groomsmen, Cole Rabbitt, was nowhere to be found. Attempts to reach Rabbitt, a 25-year-old Wellsburg native and 2010 AGWSR High School graduate, were unsuccessful, and shortly thereafter, the news would come. He had lost control of his vehicle on Highway 14 about seven miles southeast of his hometown of Wellsburg at 3:00 a.m., and he didn’t survive the fiery accident.


“It’s kind of impossible not to think about Cole,” Bell said. “Every time I think about August 12, I always just think about Cole.”


Anthony Nederhoff had returned to Wellsburg after the festivities when he heard from Rabbitt’s mother and stepfather that the unimaginable had happened. As the wedding party commenced opening gifts, Nederhoff called to inform them of the tragedy that unfolded.


“It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” Nederhoff said. “It was a complete 180 for the mood… I still think about it every day.”


For Rabbitt’s friends and family, the loss initially put them in something of a catatonic state. No one could believe it, and no one knew what to do.


“It was really devastating. We just had no clue that that was a real thing that could happen to us and to our group of our friends,” said friend Junior Hernandez, who was also at Bell’s wedding.


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