FREEPORT, Maine — Communities around the Greater Portland area are coming together to honor the memory of a young man who lost his life a week ago.
17-year-old Steel Crawford was swimming with friends at Pleasant Point Park in Buxton on Friday, August 9 when officials say he let go of a rope swing, landing "awkwardly" on the water, and never surfaced.
After an hours-long search of the Saco River that afternoon, Maine game wardens discovered and recovered Crawford's body in the evening.
The area where Crawford and his friends were swimming is a popular one, making Crawford's death perhaps even more unprecedented. A week after the event, the community is coming together to help the teenager's family through this incredibly tough time.
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On Thursday, August 15, organizers announced that a "#SteelStrong" charity lacrosse game will take place this weekend on Sunday, August 18 at 5 p.m. at Freeport High School's turf field. The event is free, but donations are encouraged, since all of the proceeds will go directly to Crawford's family.
In a press release for the event, organizers called Crawford a "vibrant, wonderful young man who loved family, friends, life and lacrosse." They added he was "well-respected" in the Greater Portland community and was "an outstanding athlete who was admired and drawn to all by his smile, his simple good nature, his joy for life, and for being a respectable young man with a future of gold ahead of him."
The memorial benefit game was reportedly spearheaded by North Yarmouth Academy's Ryan Baker of Brunswick, who organizers say competed against Steel in lacrosse for many years -- but through their love for the game, they became close friends. Within hours of announcing the event, Ryan apparently had more than 100 young men signed up to play.
Some of Steel's closest friends organizing the game are:
- Aisling Flaherty of Cheverus High School in Portland
- Sean Tomkins of Cheverus High School in Portland
- Gio Nakouzi of Freeport High School
- Dominic Spina of Scarborough High School
- Macie Gagne of Morse High School in Bath
- Clay Canterbury of Freeport High School
A GoFundMe page has also been set up for Crawford's family in connection to the upcoming charity game.
The flyer for Sunday's event reads as follows: