RAYTOWN, Mo. - More than 200 friends and classmates joined the family of 16-year-old Manny Palmer for a candlelight vigil in honor of the popular young man who drowned Saturday in a Lee's summit lake.
The multi-talented Palmer was fittingly eulogized by a performance from the school's top choir, for which he had been a soloist, as well as by the head football coach, who called him one of the most positive players he had ever worked with.
Friends, decked out in Palmer's trademark tank tops, broke down in tears as they remembered a young man who many described as their first friend -- an open and ebullient spirit everyone wanted to be around.
"Honestly, I just want 10 more minutes with him," said Dominic Marchese, a longtime friend. "To tell him that I love him. And that I'm always here for him. "
Natasha Palmer, Manny's older sister, organized the event. She said she felt the vigil was perhaps most important for her brother's young male friends to process their grief.
"They're young men that feel they can't cry, and this was a time they could all be there for each other, not just by themselves, and just cry," she said.
Natasha also said despite his other athletic gifts, her brother was not a strong swimmer, and was not good at treading water.
She said she hopes his drowning death in 30 feet of water may serve as a cautionary tale for others.