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Family, friends prepare for 2nd teen’s passing


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As family and doctors of Michael Chadbourne made preparations to donate the teen’s organs, friends and teammates from Franklin schools came to say goodbye.

Chadbourne, 16, has been in critical condition at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital since Friday afternoon, when he and three other Franklin teens, Jason Moran, 17, Mark Nally, 18, and Trent Crabb, 17, all went over the Big Blue River dam in Edinburgh. They were trying to help another friend, 16-year-old Sarah McLevish, who was swept over the dam while the group was swimming.

Moran, Chadbourne and McLevish were overtaken and pulled under the fast-moving water. Chadbourne and McLevish surfaced and were pulled to land by Nally and Crabb, who escaped the water. Neither Chadbourne nor McLevish was breathing or had a pulse when they were pulled to land, and they were given CPR until an ambulance arrived.

Moran didn’t surface, and his body was recovered from the base of the dam on Sunday.

Chadbourne was on life support Tuesday while preparations were being made to donate his organs, Marion County Coroner office manager Marchele Hall said.

McLevish remained in critical condition on Tuesday.

All five teens attended Franklin Community High School; and students, school board members and the principal have been visiting their families.

“You have the character of kids, who risked their lives to save another,” school board member Darren Thompson said. “Tragedy occurs. And the character of the community has been phenomenal.”

As people said goodbye to Chadbourne on Monday and Tuesday, friends of the teen and his family could only show encouragement, Franklin football coach Adam Reese said.

“Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot to be done, except be there to provide support,” Reese said.

Chadbourne was going to be a senior at Franklin this fall, and he and Moran were football players. Chadbourne was a defensive back, and Moran was a linebacker.

Both teens were becoming skilled players on the football field and becoming stronger students as well, Reese said.

Reese periodically checks in with his players’ teachers, and teachers for Moran and Chadbourne had said both students were working harder in class, Reese said.

“Both of those young men, they were just important members of our team,” Reese said. “And they were important members of the school community.”

The Franklin football team started summer practices last week and were scheduled to practice on Monday. Instead, Reese had a team meeting with the players to talk about what had happened.

“I wanted to remind our kids that we’re available for them and want to be able to support them in any way that we can,” Reese said.

Some of the team’s senior players have known and played alongside Moran and Chadbourne throughout high school and are deeply affected by what has happened. Other players didn’t know the pair well but are trying to find the best way to help their teammates, Reese said.

“It’s a really wide range of emotions and of feelings from the various players. But it’s difficult,” Reese said.

Reese is waiting to see how he’ll adjust the rest of this week’s practice schedule, and he reached out to Franklin College football coach Mike Leonard for advice about the best way to help the team move forward.

Leonard was encouraging and connected Reese with coaches from Southport and Avon high schools, who have dealt with tragedies involving their players, Reese said.

Reese has been encouraged that none of his players or other Franklin students have been coping by themselves.

Players and students are staying in groups when they go to the hospital or the high school to talk and make ribbons in support of the five teens. That’s essential because it gives people who knew Chadbourne, Moran and McLevish a chance to talk about what they’re feeling, Reese said.

The high school hosted a prayer vigil that was attended by hundreds of people on Friday, and the school has been open nearly every day since to give students a place to meet and talk with counselors.

Today the high school will host a memorial service for Moran, and a private funeral for the family will be on Thursday.

Moran’s family requested a memorial service at the high school, and school officials will continue to meet with the families, Thompson said.

“I don’t know that we have a plan. I think it’s been on each of our hearts to go and reach out to each family,” Thompson said. “And I think that’s how we’ll continue to do that.”

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