NEW ORLEANS — The family of 15-year-old Kevin Poole Jr. said their emotional goodbyes to a brave young teen whose life ended far too soon.
"I'd consider him a true champion. Everything he stood for was awesome and amazing," said Keenan Lewis, Kevin's high school football coach.
Kevin was laid to rest Saturday at the Greater Morning Star Baptist Church in Algiers.
He was one of three children swept away by the Mississippi River last month near the Crescent City Connection Bridge.
His body was found nearly two weeks ago. It was located about three miles down river near Crescent Park in the Bywater neighborhood.
City Councilman Freddie King was there to show his support.
"Today was a day to remember and honor a hero, Kevin Poole Jr., who made the ultimate sacrifice in attempt to save his friends," King said. "Today is about him. Today is his day, and if every young man had the bravery and courage of Kevin it would be a much better city."
Friends described Kevin as someone who always smiled and had a bright future planned for himself. He wanted to attend an SEC school to play football. He was on the LB Landry High School team.
Coach Lewis said he was a leader on the field and his presence will truly be missed.
"He definitely was one of the leaders in the group. He was always caring and trying to help another person like he did when he lost his life. He was a brave young man and I'm sure the other young men here will have a great season for him," he said.
Loved ones honored Kevin with a Jazz Funeral.
They ended the afternoon with a second line that spilled into the streets with music, song and dance in celebration of his life.
Those close to the family say his life was cut too short, but he is forever in their memories.
Search crews spent weeks looking for Kevin and the two girls who also went missing in the river: Sisters 14-year old Brandy Wilson and 8-year-old Ally Wilson.
The body of 8-year-old Ally Berry has not yet been recovered. Volunteers are still searching.