Friends and family of Christian Hardison will gather on a bridge of the Deep Fork River at Sunday noon. They are gathering to remember the 13-year-old who accidentally drowned there Friday.
Cynthia Wishon said the gathering is the idea of her son, Marcus, who is the boy who tried to save his friend when Christian went under the murky water of the Deep Fork and never re-surfaced.
“Marcus would like for anyone that wants to come to the bridge on Sunday at noon and bring flowers, pictures or just show your love for Christian. We will be there setting up a special spot for him,” said Wishon.
Christian is being remembered as a bright young man who was a loving son, grandson and brother. Fellow seventh graders at Luther Middle School remember him as a friend and will surely miss him in the halls and in the classroom when classes resume Monday. Counselors from A Bright Tomorrow Counseling Service will meet with any student coping with the loss.
Wishon brought Marcus and his sister to a community prayer service Saturday afternoon at the Luther First Christian Church. A small group of neighbors and teachers gathered to pray and remember Christian. They also assured Marcus that his community loves him and wants to help him through his loss. Marcus’ sister said they are not saying good-bye to Christian, but “see ya later.” Pastor Johnny Melton read from The Gospel of Matthew and prayed for understanding. Everyone lit a candle.
Earlier Saturday the long-time family friends spent time together and Marcus returned both of Christian’s shoes to his friend’s mother, Angela.
Wishon said her family would spend Saturday night making mementos and a memorial site to post on the bridge to honor Christian’s short life. Wishon reminisced that her Daddy always warned about the dangers of that river. She also thanked their neighbors, family, divers and fire departments who tried desperately to save Christian.
The accident happened Friday morning when Christian and Marcus were hanging out at the river bank near their homes. Wishon said that Christian lost a shoe and went into the water to retrieve it. She said he likely got caught in a known drop-off where the shallow water suddenly got deep.
Divers from Oklahoma City and Edmond Fire Departments recovered Christian a couple of hours later downstream in the still, cold and deep water.
Wishon also asks a favor of the community. She asks for food for the Hardison family who will spend time together at Christian’s grandmother’s home. They’ll gather Sunday after meeting on the bridge at Noon at 178th and Choctaw Road.
It is also expected that an account will be set up Monday at BancFirst in Angela Hardison’s name to collect money for funeral expenses for her son.