At the same time, he felt a twinge of guilt along with his grief, almost as if he'd abandoned his friends when they needed him most. "I told (my wife) that it almost made me want to go back to catch the person who did it. I do feel like I let them down because I wasn't there to help out."
Goins has a new career now. He's in his first year as a teacher at Petree Elementary. He decided to go back to college after the birth of his first child, a boy named Carson, who will turn 7 in June. The birth of his daughter, Morgan, in 2003 cemented his decision to leave. And the death of Plouff, a man he had come to admire, painfully reinforced it.
"There are aspects to the job that I miss," he said. "But when this happened Friday, it was confirmation I made the right decision. I'm not saying (Plouff) made a bad decision. It's a job you love. It's rewarding. But the decision (whether to leave) is for each person and their family to make. Everybody is different."
— Scott Sexton, Winston-Salem Journal