Brooks Co. community copes with tragedy together - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Brooks Co. community copes with tragedy together

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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

Brooks County High School students and football players are working with grief counselors and pastors to cope with the tragedy of losing three of their own.

The Brooks County High School flag flew at half-staff today as the Trojan community mourns the death of football players Johnie Parker, Shawn Waters, and Jicarre Watkins. On Wednesday law enforcement, grief counselors, and pastors met with the football team to help them deal with these tragic losses.

Reverend Chris Hilliard says they'll be working with the boys for days to come. "We may not know the answers to the 'why' but we know that even out of a tragedy often times something good can come out of it. So we're just going to pray through it, support each other through it. And I believe this community will be stronger through what's happened."

Hillard says the boys shared thoughts and memories of the lost teammates and says they've handled the news courageously. "They're a football team so they're being strong."

Brooks County Sheriff Mike Dewey says some of the players witnessed the crash on Webster Street yesterday as they headed home from football practice.

"People can have traumatic after effects from witnessing something like this. If they're having any kind of mental issues with it, we need to go ahead and address it and get some kind of mental counseling for it," said Dewey.

Sheriff Dewey says yesterday's crash was something he'll never forget. "It was one of the worst wrecks I've seen in 29 years of law enforcement."

Today the Brooks County community prayed together at 2:03 p.m. for strength for the victims families and healing for the sole survivor, De'Vron Whitfield.

The Trojan team will return to football practice next week.

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