Family and friends gathered last night along the bank of the Red River to remember 6 local teenagers who lost their lives in a tragic incident on the river 10 years ago. It was August 2, 2010 when family and friends were having a gathering at the Hamel Memorial Park. The young people were wading in the water off of a sandbar when one of them got swept into water over his head. the other five lost their lives trying to save their family members.

There was a special tribute ceremony last night to honor the teens. The crowd lit balloon lanterns and released them into the sky.

Today, we remember 13-year-old Takeitha Warner along with her brothers Jamarcus Warner and JaTavious Warner, ages 14 and 17. They drowned in the tragedy along with 18-year-old Litrelle Stewart, 17-year-old LaDairus Stewart and 15-year-old Latevin Stewart trying to save their cousin DeKendrix Warner.

None of the teens knew how to swim. Rena Blalock, mother to the Stewarts tells KTAL NBC 6 it’s been ten years from the worst day a parent could ever imagine.

“People see me as a strong person, but I just see myself as just trying to make it,” said Blalock, “Cause most people wouldn’t have survived this tragedy. People have a hard time with one and just to lose three, it’s terrible. Through the grace of God and my family, I made it and I’m still making it.”

From this horrible tragedy came a new program called Project Swim which provides free swimming lessons to folks who could not afford it. Since that time, thousands of young people have learned to swim.


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