Prayer vigil Thursday night for drowning victim - - Columbia, South Carolina

Prayer vigil Thursday night for drowning victim

Waeland Peeples (Source: Amber Peeples) Waeland Peeples (Source: Amber Peeples)

A prayer vigil was held Thursday night for a Saluda teen who drowned in Lake Murray Sunday.

Friends and family of 17-year-old Waeland Peeples gathered at Batesburg Leesville High School.

"He was somebody I could depend on and I love that boy to death and nothing will ever change," said Brittany Hydrick, who organized the event.

Both his parents greeted Peeples' band mates and friends, thanking them for their support.

"This is our way of saying goodbye. But its not goodbye forever, its goodbye until next time," said Hydrick.

One by one, his classmates took the microphone to share their fond memories of a talented young man.

History teacher Eric Gambriell shared one of the last assignments that Peeples would ever complete--a paper on the most influential person in his life.

"Waeland, being Waeland, definitely wrote his about Bob Marley, which was comical," said Gambriell. That was him. Definitely was influential and the words that Bob Marley left with us are impactful and very situational for tonight."

The Department of Natural Resources says Peeples drowned Sunday night near a boat landing at Riverbend Point as he attempted to swim to shore from a pontoon boat. 

The Saluda County Coroner said Peeples' parents both were deployed in Afghanistan with the U.S. military at the time of his drowning and returning home after the incident.

A memorial fund has been established in his name:

Waeland Peeples Memorial Fund

C/O SC National Guard FCU

PO Box 9366

Columbia, SC 29290

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