Hundreds of people filled the gym at Turner Ashby High School Saturday. All to pay tribute to a young man who had an impact on every one of them.
Jackson Reel's wrestling coach had known him most of his life.
"I've known him since he's been young," said Marshall Smiley, head coach of the Turner Ashby Knights. "To be his coach and to be his friend has meant a lot to me and a lot of other people. I'm proud to say that he's touched my life."
One of the reason's so many came out to pay their respects, Reel was well known for his tenacity to achieve. Born with a heart defect, he insisted on participating on the wrestling team.
"He would turn blue wrestling," said Reel's uncle, Mark Farmer. "But he was a fighter and he fought all through life and went above and beyond. I was just telling my younger son who's also a wrestler, I said, remember that when you wrestle this year and use that to motivate you."
The memory of the strength Reel showed in life, and on the mat, is already motivating some fellow teammates.
"He was like my brother," said teammate Dalton Farley. "I'm going to dedicate this season to him. No matter how I do it, it's going to be for him."
Throughout the remainder of the school year friends, teachers, classmates, fans of the Turner Ashby Knights will be remembering a young man taken from us too soon.
"He was great. He was there for everyone," said Farkley. "He was a happy go lucky guy. He never had a frown on his face. He didn't care. He'd would always be there for you. He would talk to you about anything. He was awesome."
© Copyright 2014 WHSV / Gray Television Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.