Bryan Huff, 32, and Andrew Rose, 33, are presumed dead by many friends and family, but some loved ones are still hoping for the small possibility the men are alive somewhere.
“Let’s get them home,” Huff’s mother, Debbie Huff, said to the scores of people who attended the vigil, which was held on the Lake Erie shores near Turtle Point Marina.
Countless friends and family of the victims were joined by people who have simply been moved by the story. The group lit lightweight Japanese lanterns, then let them loose into the night sky.
The intent was symbolic: to provide a beacon of light for the two missing men.
Huff, Rose and two others — Amy Santus, 33, of Perrysburg, and Paige Widmer, 16, of South Carolina — went out on the lake April 16 in a 21-foot boat for what was supposed to be a brief fishing expedition.
When the group didn’t return as scheduled, family members notified authorities, who launched a massive search. The boat was found April 17, the same day the bodies of Santus and Widmer were found floating miles out in the lake.
Santus and Widmer both drowned, according to autopsy reports. It’s still unknown what caused the boat to crash or capsize. Huff’s family has said he was an experienced boater.
Paul Lis, a friend of Huff and Rose, organized the vigil with help from social media users, who spread the word quickly. He said he was grateful for the strong showing of support, as the vigil was to help the grieving families.
“This is all for the families” he said. “We wanted to show them they’re not just two fishermen. They’re dear friends”
Steve Reamy was a close friend of Rose.
“It’s been tough,” Reamy said. “Thursday night is usually my night where I (go out with Andrew), and all of a sudden we don’t have that anymore”
It’s been especially difficult given the unanswered questions about the crash, and the fact the two men remain missing.
“When you can’t get answers, it makes it hard,” Reamy said. “You want answers, but there aren’t many”
Friends and family fought back tears Friday as many spoke poignant words. Through it all, there was a glimpse of just what made these people special.
“All of this is amazing” Reamy said.
When he looked out from a slightly elevated portion of the beach at the turnout, he could only muster one long word: “Wow”
“It’s for the family,” he said. “You want them to know their loved ones are remembered”