LOOP, TX (KCBD) – A small, West Texas town gets together in a big way to honor two teens killed in a car accident almost a year ago. Many suited up, including some from our station, to raise money for one player's vision.
"He's not here anymore. I know where he is now and I'm okay with that. Everyday I'd like to go into his bedroom and wake him up," Dylan Bratcher's mom, Deann said. Her son and his friend Abraham Remple died instantly in a car crash on June 2, 2010.
"It's been a difficult year, but at the same time it has brought the best out in people," Loop-ISD Principal Charla Scott said. "We are a community of around 300 and if you look at the stands we are pretty much all here."
Dylan Bratcher loved football, but always thought that something was missing. "Dylan always wanted to run through a tunnel," Scott said.
"For a football team it means the world. It is that moment right before you go out on a field and give it your all," said Travis Thompson, one of Bratcher's best friends who graduated from Seagraves.
It's a pricey wish for a school of around 100 students, and with a limited budget the school simply could not afford it.
"This would be my way to dedicate something to him," said Bratcher's Mom. So, Pete Christy put the word out for donations. Schools across the South Plains set their rivalries aside and stepped up to raise money.
Thursday, students from O'Donnell and Wellman-Union filled the stands in the gym to present their donations before a special basketball game. Christy presented Dylan's mom several large donations from area schools.
Loop students, friends and the KCBD crew all wore Dylan's number. Some area schools even loaned us their #20 jerseys for the day.
"Just coming out for Dylan and Abe means a whole lot," Brendan Tarelton said. Tarelton played to remember his friends.
"Dylan was my best friend so wearing his number makes it hard but knowing where he is now helps," said Bratcher's friend Josh Ellis.
Friday nights on the football field in Loop aren't the same without Dylan, but now his friends say he will be where he belongs when the team runs on to the field.
"He'd love to see that tunnel and he'll be there in spirit," said Thompson.
Bratcher's mom said the support from the community is what she feels every day. She works at the school and says students and teachers have helped her get through such a trying year. The $5,000 raised will more than cover the cost of the tunnel. The rest will help students go to college.
"He's bouncing around watching us. He's so proud," said Bratcher.
While these two young men are gone, no one has forgotten them.
Next week on a special I Beat Pete you'll find out who won the basketball game.