MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – This Sunday marks the one year anniversary of a horrible tragedy.
Two Lakewood Ranch students were hit and killed while driving to a homecoming dance.
On Tuesday one of the young victims was honored with a very special memorial.
For those of us who report or watch the news, tragedies can come and go, but for the family of those loved ones, the pain never goes away.
“Its been pretty lonely, its pretty quiet around the house,” said Matthew’s 12-year-old sister Katie.
“He would play catch with me all the time outside. Play baseball, now I don’t have anyone to play catch with anymore,” said Matthew’s 14-year-old brother Robert.
On September 15th, 2018, 15-year-old Matthew Powers was headed to the Lakewood Ranch High School Homecoming Dance. He hitched a ride with his friend, 17-year-old Chase Coyner, but they didn’t make it. They were hit by a truck and killed.
On Tuesday, commissioners approved a measure to honor Matthew.
Field 1 at Lakewood Ranch Park has now been renamed the ‘Matthew Ryan Powers Memorial Field.’
“Its heartwarming. Like I tell people, its happy-sad. Makes us so happy that he had an impact, that people remember him but at the same time makes us sad that he’s not here, that it has to be a memorial instead of him actually playing,” said Dan Powers.
Powers played in little league for 11 years, so the Lakewood Ranch Little League spearheaded the effort.
“It’s a big honor to have this field named after him so that we can just remember him and come there and people will know who he is and he has a legacy,” said Robert Powers.
As for Coyner, he loved photography, so plans are underway to create a photo studio at the high school in his name.
Its an effort to not only honor these young lives, but to remind others to be careful behind the wheel.
“These two boys, I think its really hit home to people that you can be doing right things and bad things can happen,” said Powers.
Soon the family will work on designing a sign, and the field will be officially dedicated in February.