Dressed in Central Valley blue and wearing wrist bands reading "We Believe," hundreds of people packed into the CVHS gymnasium Saturday to honor and celebrate the life of a recent graduate who drowned in the Spokane River.
On Tuesday, 18-year-old Jansen Badinger died while trying swim across the river with his girlfriend. It appears he may have suffered from an asthma attack while in the water.
"I know he had a purpose in life and even though it was cut short, from what I'm hearing from everybody it just makes my heart soar to know that he had such an impression on so many people," said Paula Collier, Jansen's great aunt said.
"You can't often achieve that in a lifetime," she added.
During the memorial service, Jansen's brother, uncle, and girlfriend all shared memories of a young man who always had a smile on his face.
"My little brother was an amazing kid, someone who was taken before his time and someone who was going to make a huge difference in this world," said Jordan Badinger.
During summer break, Jansen would often be mentoring kids on and off the soccer field at Jackson Sports Academy. Owner and family friend, Cecil Jackson thanked his parents Saturday for raising such an incredible young man. Jackson also challenged his classmates to be great.
"So I challenge each and everyone of you guys to pick up his torch, go play with kids, go mentor kids," said Cecil Jackson.
"It's a big torch to carry, it's going to be hard to live up to what he did," said Justin Alcala, who played soccer with Jansen.
A memorial fund has been set up at STCU under "Jansen Badinger."