LOST CREEK, W.Va. — Thousands are expected Sunday at Gary Barnette Stadium in Lost Creek to pay their final respects to South Harrison High School football player and student Dylan Jeffries.
The 17 year old left the same stadium via HealthNet for Ruby Memorial Hospital after collapsing of a brain aneurism. He never recovered and died nine days later.
Most of Dylan’s family and the community believed it was a fitting venue for his final memorial. A candlelight vigil to pray for him was held the night after his injury. His funeral is expected to attract a huge crowd and the family sought permission to use the facility.
The normal policy disallows use of school facilities for funerals, but the Harrison County School Board made an exception.
“This was not an easy decision to make,” said Harrison County Board of Education President Mike Queen. “But one that was certainly we felt appropriate for this particular case and in this particular circumstance.”
Queen said the board considered the number of people expected to attend Dylan’s funeral. The football field in rural Lost Creek community was the only location large enough to handle the influx of mourners.
“Had it been an elementary student or a much younger student, the board may have voted differently,” Queen said. “Board members have had concerns and our own superintendent and staff advised us of why these policies are in place.”
Dylan’s story is one which has captured the attention of the entire state and even much of the country. The grief stricken community is tight knit and Dylan was a very popular student and outstanding player, which made the football stadium an even more appropriate location for his memorial.
“It’s gut wrenching to imagine what that family is going through,” said Queen. “My son just graduated last year.”
The plans are for visitation to be held at Friday and Saturday at Davis Funeral Home in Clarksburg. The funeral will be Sunday at Gary Barnette Stadium, but the time has not been announced. In the event of rain, the event will be moved into the school’s gymnasium. Burial will be Monday in a private, family only, ceremony at Floral Hills Memorial Gardens in Mount Claire.