Family, Friends Remember McAlester Teen

Sunday, March 8th 2009, 5:32 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

MCALESTER, OK -- Family and friends are remembering a teenage church leader.

Eighteen-year-old Ryan McAfee died Monday after a tractor-trailer dropped its load onto a highway near McAlester.

A 25,000-pound piece of an oil derrick crashed onto Ryan's car.

Ryan had been a youth mentor at his church for years and helped lead youth bible services every Sunday morning with his older brother, Lance.

"Even though Ryan is gone, his life and his legacy is going to live on," Lance McAfee said.

Three days after burying his brother, McAfee is talking about the legacy he leaves behind.

"He never had a foul word come out of his mouth," Lance said. "He was just a fun-loving guy who lived for God, and was always there for his friends."

Lance struggles with the death every day.

"We weren't only brothers," he said. "We were best friends."

Ryan's spirit was a pillar of the congregation.

McAfee 3: "Everybody had to give Ryan a hug or shake his hand," Lance said. "Especially the elderly folks. They loved Ryan."

Lance says those hugs will live on. Even in death, Ryan's lessons continue to inspire his peers.

"The faith that Ryan had we all share," Ryan's friend Jarrod Owen said. "And it's very comforting to know he's in heaven."

Sunday was the first Bible study Lance led without his brother by his side.

"It's tough to look into the crowd of all of his friends and him not be there," Lance said.

Lance says Ryan's spirit will be kept alive.

"Even though we're sad for Ryan's loss, you know, we know we'll see him again," Lance said.

Ryan was a four-year basketball player for the Canadian High School Cougars. The school has retired his jersey.