Spokane Valley mourning loss of Jansen Badinger
Spokane Valley is mourning the loss of an enthusiastic, well-loved 18-year-old.
Jansen Badinger died Tuesday afternoon after trying to swim across the Spokane River with his girlfriend.
Badinger just graduated from Central Valley High School, where he was considered the king of school spirit.
"There's no one he didn't talk to," Jansen's girlfriend Alaina Bates said.
Badinger's actions throughout his life, were speaking loud for him the day after he died.
"He got to personal relationships with people but really he changed lives by saying 'hi' to them and just smiling," Bates said.
The two were together for three months. Bates was with him in the river Tuesday, trying to swim across the river, when she says Jansen started having an asthma attack. The couple already swam across once, and were on their way back when the current got a little stronger. Bates believes it may have been stress-induced.
"It happened and I can remember everything so vividly but at the same time it doesn't feel like he's gone," Bates said.
Witnesses pulled Jansen out of the water and started CPR but it was too late.
Wednesday, The Bates and Badinger families continued to mourn along with the Central Valley High School community.
At midnight, close to 300 people held a vigil for Jansen. Several shared stories about him and said prayers for the Badinger family.
Austin Ola and Shay Simon knew Jansen since middle school.
"I truly miss him, I wish I could have seen him one last time," Ola said.
"He'd always know how to pick people up when they're down, make them laugh if they're sad and he was an easy person to get along with. He cared about everyone," Shay Simon added.
Many of Jansen's friends say he was that guy who'd show up early to school almost everyday to greet students as they went to class. He was a man who dedicated his life to making people love their own life.
"I think if he's looking down and he saw that last night, he'd know that one person can make a difference in a lot of people's lives," Bates said.
His girlfriend says Jansen was going to attend S.C.C. in the fall. He wanted to be a firefighter, and then planned to be a teacher.
A memorial for Jansen Badinger is planned for 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at Central Valley High School. A memorial fund has also been set up at STCU under "Jansen Badinger."
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