Friends, family say goodbye to 17-year-old drowning victim

FRANKLIN, Ind. - Family, classmates and a community gathered to say goodbye to a teenager who died in a swimming accident.

Hundreds of people gathered at Franklin Community High School throughout the day Wednesday for the visitation and memorial service for 17-year-old Jason Moran.

"None of us can imagine what the parents must be going through, so we wanted to show our support by being showing an outpour of love and care," mom Alice Mann said.

Blue ribbons were posted all over town in support of the teens involved in the incident last Friday at the Big Blue River in Edinburgh.

Moran drowned while swimming with friends in the river.

His friend, 16-year-old Michael Chadbourne, was pronounced dead early Wednesday morning after he was taken off life support.

The boys were trying to rescue 16-year-old Sarah McLevish after she was swept over the dam. McLevish remained in critical condition and two other friends were able to swim to safety.

Friends and strangers purchased Franklin Strong T-shirts to show their support for the families.

"It's just a tragedy that this happened at all and I had heard that they had jumped in to try and save her. And I felt like if I could even come out and just get a shirt to show some support, pay respects, because they were very brave going in there after her," Blake Campbell said. "I just wanted to do what I could to try and help those families out I guess."

Moran was a football player who would have started his senior year this fall.

"I was looking forward to playing football this year with him. It's just tragic. At least he's known as a hero now," friend Robbie Heagy said.

At the end of the day, students released blue and white balloons from the football field -- a place that was familiar to the gifted athlete.

"Truly, when you think about what must have been happening at that moment and time when they wanted to help someone, I mean, what great kids. That's what every parent hopes for," Mann said.

Chadbourne’s family has turned their tragedy into hope for others. The teen’s family made the decision to donate his organs.

The Indiana Organ Procurement Organization said Chadbourne was able to donate eight organs -- which is the most one person can give.

Chadbourne's heart went to a 14-year-old boy in Iowa. His lungs went to a woman in her 50s in Indiana and his liver, pancreas and intestine all went to one man in his 50s in Indiana.

Officials were still waiting to determine where his kidneys will be sent.

Visitation for Chadbourne was scheduled for Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Franklin Community High School. The public is invited to attend a Mass on Saturday at Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church at 10 a.m.

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