The Franklin students and their families, friends and teachers clumped together in small groups to pray for and talk about five friends whose swim in a river Friday turned terrifying.
Two Franklin Community High School students were in critical condition Friday night, and emergency workers were looking for a third after they became trapped in strong currents below a dam in the Big Blue River in Edinburgh.
Emergency workers suspended their search for Jason Moran, 17, on Friday night. Sarah McLevish, 16, and Michael Chadbourne, 16, were in critical condition at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital. Trent Crabb, 17, and Mark Nally, 18, who had pulled two of their friends from the river, escaped without injuries.
About 350 people gathered for a prayer vigil at the Franklin Community High School football field to light candles, listen to local pastors speak and read verses from the Bible.
“I think the community showed how important it is to get together and let God’s healing grace begin,” Andy Kinsey, senior pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Franklin, said.
His daughter, Grace, is friends with Jason Moran. She often spent time with him in the school weight room because they both played sports. They had been friends since sixth grade, and he would cheer her on when they both ran in track meets.
Moran also plays football and is a wrestler.
He is a thoughtful friend, who on the final day of school was full of questions about her hip surgery because he genuinely cared, Grace Kinsey, 17, said.
Moran’s friend Dakota Stewart, 17, played football with during in their freshman year. They stayed good friends after that. The two have a special handshake, complete with finger pointing and snapping, he said.
Just last weekend, the friends played basketball together and tossed a football around, he said.
Stewart attended the vigil because he wanted to show that he cares about Jason, he said.
“He’s just fun to be around. He makes everyone happier,” he said.