RICHLAND, WA - A tragic event in June of last year is now manifesting into something hopeful.
You may remember when a group of teens jumped into the Yakima River off the railroad bridge near SR-240 last summer.
18-year-old Dmetri Kennedy-Woody did not resurface.
Now, in remembrance of their son, his family is sharing his memory and preventing tragedies like theirs from happening to anyone else.
"I know we are making him proud as well as us doing what we have to do," said Cheri Kennedy, Dmetri's mother.
16 months ago, Dmetri lost his life in an accidental drowning. The Hanford High School senior was less than two weeks from graduating.
Today, his family shares his memory and urges the community to prevent accidents like his from happening again.
"We decided to turn our grief around and do something in honor of Dmetri."
...in the form of life jackets.
"It's important to us after we've experienced a death by drowning to get the news out that everybody needs; if you are going to touch the water you need to have a life jacket on no matter what."
Back in April, Dmetri's parents organized a fundraiser to raise money for the life jackets. And just last month-
"We partnered with Dmetri's family and they provided these life jackets that are now life jacket loaner boards, and at the life jacket loaner station here in Richland," said Kathleen Clary-Cooke, with the Benton-Franklin Health District.
50 extra jackets, free for the community. All in honor of Dmetri.
"We made sure that we did a purple sticker, which is the Hanford High School color, just to honor him, and so that when his friends and family see these they know that it is a little extra remembrance of Dmetri."
Now, they urge others to remember.
"Our rivers are very swift around here, and no matter the skill level you might think you are for swimming, do not underestimate our rivers... and that's what happened to Dmetri. He knew how to swim but he did not know how to swim in the currents."