SC Man Turns Tragedy Into Program To Save Lives On The Waters -

SC Man Turns Tragedy Into Program To Save Lives On The Waters

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A South Carolina man who lost his son and grandson in a boating accident has started a Life Jacket Loaner Program on Lake Wylie. Craig Keese’s son, Brian, and grandson, Nathan, drowned in March of 2010 when their boat capsized on a lake in Missouri. Brian and Nathan were not wearing life jackets. Craig Keese said, “Every time you see the water, I couldn’t live on the water. That’s how painful it is.”

Craig Keese said, “Nathan was like an angel.” He added, “There’s no pain in the universe, I don’t know about other instant deaths, but there’s no pain in the universe…never goes away.”

Keese pointed to his life jacket and said, “If they’d had this on, yes, they’d be here today.” He wants others to have what his son and grandson didn’t have on that day--life jackets.

The Life Jacket Loaner Program at Lake Wylie allows people to borrow a life jacket at no cost from a kiosk and return it at the end of the day. The kiosks also have instructions for matching life jackets to the appropriate size and weight of children.

Jet Skier Haley Everhart said, “If I’m on the jet ski, I always have one (a life jacket) on, because I’m always scared of something happening once I fall off.” Massimo Ardito, another jet skier, said, “You never know what could happen out there, so you want to be fun, but be safe.”

Craig Keese says the only way to move forward is to give people what they need most on the water and remind them of the grief he’s suffered. Keese said, “I can go to a marina today, and I can see people not putting on life jackets, and I want to scream at them. That’s how it affected me.”

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