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Bethel community holds vigil to remember Kyle Lewis

By Scott Wright, Staff Writer, Modified: July 28, 2010 at 11:14 pm •  Published: July 28, 2010

SHAWNEE — A plaque sits in the trophy case inside the Bethel High School gym honoring Kyle Lewis' state golf championship in 2008. On the back wall of the gym, a banner hangs to recognize the accomplishment as well.

Soon, a cut-out photo of Lewis will stand with those of Bethel's other All-State athletes.

Lewis died Monday evening when his car drifted off the Turner Turnpike and struck a bridge embankment near Stroud as he drove home from playing in the All-State golf tournament in Broken Arrow. He'll never be forgotten in the Bethel gym, so it seems fitting that he be remembered there.

It began with a prayer vigil Wednesday night, and will continue with Friday's funeral at 10 a.m.

The only question is whether the gym can hold everyone who will show up Friday morning to remember him.

Bethel Acres is a tightly woven community that sits on the edge of Shawnee, though far enough away to maintain its autonomy. The high school is the backbone of the community, so when the school is shaken by tragedy, everyone feels it.

And that's the only way anyone in Bethel Acres would want it — if you have to hurt, hurt together. And heal together.

"The only way to move forward is together," said Gabby Babb, who graduated with Lewis in May. "Kyle was the greatest friend. He was always there when you needed him, always offering to help if he could.

"(The vigil) was a really personal way for us to remember the good things about Kyle, rather than thinking about the bad things, and death."

The vigil was full of song, prayer and stories of Lewis' life, along with some private time for everyone to remember him.

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