Alright so short story, I live near a lake in Texas and while I was in high school we had a death almost every year.
In the July after my Senior year we had a kid who was shot during an apparent robbery.
In my Sophomore year we had a kid who was shot in what I understand was a homicide though there are rumors that it was a suicide at the time.
Those aren't the two I'm talking about, I didn't know either of them and I don't intend to go into any detail about what happened to them.
I'm going to go over the two boys who I knew by name.
Connor Gage went to the same elementry school as me, the same junior high as me, and the same high school as me. I didn't know him, but I recognized his face and he always had seemed like a very nice person. Unfortunately he died when he was 15 in our Freshman year at the lake when he jumped into the lake while doing a trick and drowned.
John Cookson was someone I'd been friends with, I'm not going to say we were particularly close but I did consider him a friend. He was a great guy, he had a great sense of humor and he'd played cello in school orchestra at least as long as I was there. He was smart, he played tennis and his favorite color was orange. I say this because while Connor's family has shared all sorts of information about him, John's has remained rather quiet and I feel it's important to humanize him to you a little. When I heard he had died I'd been shocked and confused and whenever I think about him I often forget that he's dead. I talked with him about college and what jobs we wanted to go into and joked with him about all kinds of things. You knew just talking to him the boy had a future. He was one of those people who was always vibrant and alive and I'm glad I knew him. He wasn't my best friend, and there are a lot of people more qualified to tell you about John, but I just have to get that out. He died in our Junior year when he went kayaking in floodwaters, his kayak flipped and he ended up unconscious. He died in the hospital later.
Now I don't bring this up to dredge up dead people or to tell you to send condolences to their families or anything. I am of the understanding that John's family would prefer be left alone to mourn. I want to talk about something that Connor's family brought up.
I don't need numbers to tell you that a lot of people die in the water every year, Connor and John weren't the first and they won't be the last, but there are two things that are really important to lessening the number of people who die though.
First off, life jackets are a must in lakes and you have to keep an eye on everyone. It isn't just weak swimmers who drown. Also important, it can be hard to tell how deep a lake is and the docks and boats aren't made to be jumped off of. Save your tricks for home, it isn't safe to do anything fancy when jumping into a lake.
Secondly, don't ever play in floodwaters. They're unpredictable and unsafe and you don't know what's in them. Never think you can outdo the water, it is a lot more deadly than you'd ever think it can be.
Now I don't expect anyone to donate but you can if you like, I just want to make sure the information is out there.
Connor's family started the LV Project after his death to educate people about water safety and you can find that website here
Also notable, every year they hold the Honor Connor 5k on a route that Connor took on his own runs, it's a good event and I always feel like it deserves to be mentioned specifically especially as it's coming up in a few days.
Check them out, go look into water safety on your own, make sure everyone you know knows about water safety. I know it sounds like a silly thing to take so seriously but it really is important.