D. J. Vinson given hero's funeral - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

D. J. Vinson given hero's funeral

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

August 7, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany man, who died trying to save a drowning child, was buried with heros' honors Thursday.

Twenty three year old D. J. Vinson, drowned in the Flint River Sunday evening. At his funeral, he was remembered for his bravery and valor.  Vinson was remembered Thursday as a brave young man. Friends said they would never forget the laughter and smile from the young man who wouldn't think twice about giving you the shirt off his back.

Dressed in white shirts, more than 50 friends from Albany High School and Darton College served as honorary pallbearers, for their friend D. J. Vinson. Inside Sunnyside Baptist Church in East Albany, nearly 400 gathered to remember the young man's bravery, like friends did earlier this week.

"D. J., had a very loving heart, he loved everybody," said Jason Blackstock, a friend.

"Always did the right thing, a christian guy," said friend Rick Porter.

Vinson's bravery to help two brothers struggling to stay above water in the Flint River was recognized by Albany Mayor Willie Adams in a proclamation. Congressman Sanford Bishop's representative Kenneth Cutts presented Vinson's parents with a letter of Special Congressional Recognition from the President and Congress remembering D. J.'s Outstanding Achievement in Public Service.

The Albany Dougherty Dive Team also awarded Vinson's parents a posthumous Medal of Valor.

Friends say those honors are well deserved. "He gave his life to try to save another, a real big hero," said Blackstock.

They say, Vinson adored children, hoped one day to coach a little league team, and had future plans.

"Planned to go to Valdosta State University. Had his own lawn care business he just started up," said Porter. While those dreams have been cut short they say their memories of this selfless young man never will.

"I won't ever forget it, I won't ever forget it," said David Reaves, a fellow rescuer.

Reverend Chris Turner told family and friends D. J. Vinson should be an encouragement to them all because it's one thing to be called a hero, but it's another thing to be recognized as one for one's actions.

D. J. was laid to rest late Thursday afternoon at Crown Hill Cemetery. Funeral arrangements have not yet been scheduled for 11 year old Joshua Perry who also drowned Sunday.

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