Ridgeville community marks slain football star’s 21st birthday
RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Remembering what would have been the 21st birthday for a former Lowcountry football star, his family, friends and community came together on Saturday to celebrate his life.
Lavel Davis Jr. was one of the three University of Virginia football players killed on Nov. 13 in a mass shooting on campus. Growing up in the area, he was an all-star football player at Woodland High School who went on to rank as one of the top receivers in the country at UVA.
Hundreds of community members gathered in Ridgeville to walk a 5k in honor of his life, stopping at his gravesite and elementary school on the way. Not only did people walk in South Carolina to remember Davis, but people in Boston, Virginia, Atlanta and Los Angeles did as well.
His cousin, Lynn Singleton, says that he was an amazing young man who touched many lives during his time on earth.
“I love the fact that we can focus on the fact that he lived such a beautiful life,” Singleton says. “It’s really important to remember that it’s about what we do and give to others during our time here on earth. Sometimes we think that can be short, but really time doesn’t matter, what matters is the impact.”
Davis’ friends and family released 21 balloons to celebrate a birthday they say he was looking forward to. His friends and families also say that although it was an emotional day, celebrating the life that he lived is most important.
Laila Rodgers, one of his longtime friends, shares why she felt it necessary to remember Davis on his birthday.
“I just felt like I had to do anything I could to get better spirits because there are times I want to be alone and think about it, but I feel like coming here, to his hometown, and being around his family makes me feel better inside to know that I’m around people that I know love him,” Rodgers says.
The family hopes to create an organization in the future to inspire others to live a life similar to Davis’.
“I hope that people will realize the number one importance of life is the magnitude; how we can touch people’s lives no matter how long we live, and from Tyler’s life, we can learn how much he loved God and how much he really wanted to share that with everyone else,” Singleton says. “It’s important for us to make sure that his legacy lives on.”
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