Community remembers boy who died in rafting accident

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GOLDEN, Colo. -- Classmates of a boy who died after falling in swift moving water are remembering him tonight.

The body of 11-year old Drake Durkee was recovered Friday – two days after he fell from a raft into the Arkansas River near Salida.

Hanging from every tree, tied to every post and pole are orange and blue ribbons that can be seen for blocks.

“He was a big Broncos fan,” said Pam Annon, a substitute teacher at Maple Grove Elementary School.

The display was put together by teachers and classmates of 11-year old Drake Durkee. Classmates spelled out Drake's name.

“To show him that he hasn’t been forgotten and that he has so many friends here,” said Annon.

Drake would have been going into sixth grade this fall. The boy fell out of a raft in a popular stretch of the Arkansas River Wednesday.

Searchers discovered his body entangled underwater in rocks and debris on Friday.

“I can’t think about it.  I’m not there yet.  I can’t comprehend it.  I worked very closely with him this year and, it’s very sad,” said Sandra Hammer, a paraprofessional at Maple Grove Elementary School.

Those who knew Drake describe him as an incredible boy with a passion for football and his hometown team, the Denver Broncos.

“Every time you saw him he had a smile on his face.  He was a beautiful boy,” said Hammer.

His talents in sports are highlighted in a reel from the Golden Midget Football League.

“He loved football more than anything in the whole world,” Hammer said.

Drake’s attitude was so great, Bronco legend Ed McCaffrey tweeted a message of sorrow at losing one of his all-time great football campers.

For Drake teachers -- the feeling is mutual.

“He was incredibly loved by everybody that knew him.  Just a good kid.  An all around good kid,” Hammer said.

People have been stopping by all day and night to pay respects to Drake and his family.

“I know deep down that he can see all of this,” said Annon.

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