Friends and Family Honor Life of Football Player
(Memphis) – With heavy hearts, friends and family of 15-year-old Dana Payne remembered his life tragically cut short on the football field Tuesday during practice. He died after getting hit. Wednesday night feet from the football field more than 100 of his friends and family gathered to honor him.
”You see the love you can feel it in the crowd and the air that he was loved,”
Dana’s mother, Tameka Smith, said.
Smith was consumed with gratitude as she stood among a large crowd remembering her son.
”You all can see he loved his football and he also had a sidekick right here,” she said pointing his 2-year-old brother. “When he didn’t play football he had him walking right along with him.”
Dana’s classmates also visibly upset.
”It was heartbreaking that morning. I had just seen him and we were just joking around,” his friend Tori Chestnut said.
But his friends say they are determined to smile because that’s what Dana was known for doing.
“His humor was amazing,” classmate Joshua St. Clair said. “He was really funny he could bring a smile to everybody.”
His grandfather, Jeffrey Pope, told the crowd Dana planned to serve his country.
“He wanted to go to the army and play football for the army. So he wanted to serve his country in all kind of different ways,” Pope said.
And now as they mourn the loss of Dana, Pope hopes his grandson’s death serves as a reminder to others.
“Spend more time with your children,” he said. “Because once they’re gone you can see everything that you didn’t do but it’s too late then.”
The family says they will hold a candlelight vigil at Dana’s mother’s home 795 Brandywine Street at 8:00 Thursday night.