The victim was identified as Horace William Drennan of Memphis but his loved ones know him as Will.
Germantown police and fire responded to the park on Neshoba Road at 6:17 Tuesday evening for a report that a child had fallen in the water, city officials said in a news release.
The child’s father and his football coach, Drennan, went into the water to find the child.
The child and his father emerged from the ditch on the north side of Neshoba. Drennan did not.
When Drennan was eventually found by first responders, he was taken to Methodist Germantown, where he later died. The child and his father were treated and released from the hospital.
Matt Young, one of his best friends, said it’s no shock Drennan who coached a young football team risked his life to save a player.
“Not surprising knowing Will my friend jumped in. I can just see him no hesitation,” Young said.
Many of Drennan’s family and friends are still in disbelief about this tragedy and came to Riverdale Park trying to piece together what happened.
Young said the irony in this accidental drowning is Drennan loved being in the water. He said the ditch has been a danger for years.
“A fence you know, it may not be the most aesthetic thing but if we just had any way of blocking anyone from getting into this thing this could have been prevented,” he said. “It’s so ironic that water was involved in his death because the guy loved water, loved hunting water foul.”
Drennan, the proud father to a 6-year-old Hayden, is now being called a hero.
“Hayden is already referring to his dad as a superhero which that comforts me and everybody else around,” Young said. “People that were there have told me countless times he was a hero. We kind of use that term a little much at times but he is a hero and on behalf of the family we want his legacy to be known as that.”
Germantown authorities have not released further information. WREG is interviewing witnesses to learn more about this incident.