Community rallies to provide life jackets near waterfronts in the Chattahoochee Valley

Community rallies to provide life jackets near waterfronts in the Chattahoochee Valley

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - In memory of Jeremiah Henderson, community members are taking initiative in hopes of preventing another tragic drowning.

People from all around the Chattahoochee Valley are donating life jackets and putting them near waterfronts.

Some people have provided more than 20 life jackets on an island in the Chattahoochee River.

“And if we can do anything from this tragedy, it’s try and save one more child," said Tina Peavey.

Community members are coming together in a moment of grief to honor six-year-old Jeremiah, who lost his life in the Chattahoochee River.

“You know that could have been my son out there that drowned," Peavey said. "I’ve got four kids and I want to make sure mine are safe and everyone else’s. It takes a village to raise these kids.”

Peavey used donations to buy more than 60 life jackets to put on waterfront areas around the Chattahoochee Valley. She brought the first four down to one island Wednesday night and a dozen more on Thursday. The other 40 jackets will go near different lakes and other entry points to the river.

But she isn’t the only one who put personal flotation devices by the rocks where Jeremiah drowned.

“Because a lot of tourists go down there right," and they don’t have access to a jacket. They don’t bring a jacket with them," Kit Brown said.

One fishing group bought eight life jackets, wrote Jeremiah’s jackets on them and tied them to the signs on the island where Jeremiah fell off the rocks.

The fisherman said especially on a day like the Fourth of July, it is important to make sure everyone has access to life jackets.

“On a day like today with all the boats out on the islands, it’s probably going to be packed and people bring their kids to watch the fireworks and everything. It only takes a split second on those rocks when they’re slick and when you’re in that current, it sucks you under in no time. Getting a life jacket on is going to prevent them going under,” said David Redding.

Columbus city ordinance 14-45 requires anyone near the Chattahoochee River to wear a life jacket. While it may seem strict, it’s in place to save lives.

During News Leader 9′s interview, a stranger came up and donated $20 to Peavey’s cause. New and used life jackets can be dropped off at any boat ramp.

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