Beggs Teen Identified As Okmulgee County Drowning Victim

Wednesday, September 18th 2013, 2:57 pm
By: Tess Maune

Friends are remembering the life of a Beggs teenager, who was taken too soon. Drew Aldridge drowned Tuesday while fishing at Dripping Springs Lake, near Okmulgee.

The victim's friends say Aldridge didn't have a single enemy.

Aldridge just turned 19 on August 31. He graduated from Beggs High School in May, and started college at the OSU Institute of Technology this fall.

Most people who knew Drew Aldridge, would tell you he was most at ease in the ag barn.

"He grew up in the show barn," said agriculture teacher, Derrick Markes.

Aldridge was a member of the FFA and loved raising and showing pigs.

"As soon as he was able to walk, he was in the show room showing pigs himself," Markes said.

Markes watched Aldridge grow up. He said his former student loved nothing more than coaching his younger classmates.

9/17/2013 Related Story: Okmulgee Police: Man Thrown From Boat Drowns In Dripping Springs Lake

It was a passion he had taken to college, where he was studying to follow in Markes' footsteps.

"What he wanted to do and his ultimate goal was to actually become an ag teacher," Markes said.

Aldridge also played football for Beggs High School. And when he wasn't on the field or showing pigs, he was probably on the lake.

"If it wasn't animals and football it, was fishing and hunting," said Markes.

Aldridge was fishing with a friend on Dripping Springs Lake Wednesday, when the boat he was in hit something in the water, tossing him into lake. He didn't know how to swim and he wasn't wearing a life jacket.

"I didn't know what to think. I just wanted to scream," said Hana Bowman, one of Aldridge's closest friends.

Their friendship was a topic the two had just talked about on Monday.

"He said, 'We're gonna be best friends forever. Even though we don't get to hang out all the time, we'll be best friends for the rest of our lives,'" Bowman said.

But the truth is, Aldridge was friends with everyone at school. Teachers say he somehow fit in with every group, maybe because he had a way of always saying the right thing.

"If you were sad, by the time you got done talking to Drew, you were gonna be laughing. He'd always make a funny joke or do something to make you smile," Bowman said. "He was really nice, he was sweet, he was caring, the best person, ever."

Now, through Aldridge's death, his teacher says there's an important life lesson to be learned.

"I know hindsight, if Drew was here today, he would be passionate about putting those life jackets on. It is important," Markes said.

Aldridge's friends say he loved his family dearly. They say he was a bit of a momma's boy and he didn't care who knew.

He wasn't wearing a life jacket, and his dad wanted us to make sure to tell how viewers how important is to do so.