Community holds candlelight vigil for missing boaters - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Community holds candlelight vigil for missing boaters

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November 17, 2003

Valdosta - Sunday night, the community held a candlelight vigil for the four friends who set sail from Keaton Beach and never returned. The Coast Guard searched for the boaters for one week, but found no sign of survivors.

Hundreds of candles burned brightly in memory of four friends. "We've had a lot of support and all we can do now is be here for each other and know we'll get through this, said Amelia Player, Amanda's Sister.

Friends and family said good bye to 24-year-old Matthew Hutchinson, 23-year-old Jeremiah Giffin, 20-year-old Amanda Player, and 38-year-old Dominic Barros. Their 20 foot Seacraft was found capsized in the Gulf of Mexico last week, but the Coast Guard found no sign of the boaters. "I don't need proof, I know my son was out there doing something he loved, and I'm at peace with that," said Danny Hutchinson, Matthew's Father.

The vigil is a way to mourn their losses and say good bye, but also a chance to say thanks. "If it wasn't for the prayers of the people in this community lifting us up while we were down there waiting, we would have never made it through this," said Hutchinson. "So many people came down there to help us search, brought out there own boats, and it means so much," said Dell Player, Amanda's Father.

And these families take comfort knowing their loved ones are at peace and they'll see them again someday soon.

Individual memorial services for the boaters will be held this week.

posted at 9:15 by ashley.harper@walb.com