ST. GEORGE – Southern Utah showed its heart last night as hundreds gathered at the Snow Canyon High School baseball field to hold a candlelight vigil and share one another’s grief over the loss of 16-year-old Kreg Harrison, Jr.
Harrison’s life was lost Wednesday in Havasupai Canyon, Ariz., when he encountered difficulty in the water at the base of Mooney Falls.
An estimated 300-400 people attended last night’s vigil, including one of the adults who had been with the Boy Scout Troop at Havasupai – he had assisted in the efforts to revive him – and one of Harrison’s sisters, a 2011 graduate of SCHS.
As mourners shared sadness and dismay, the Snow Canyon High School choir sang “Let the Lights Guide You Home.” The Snow Canyon Rugby team performed the traditional Samoan Haka, a cultural dance often done before battle.
Prayers and words were shared by friends of Harrison. Members of the Snow Canyon Warriors state championship baseball team, along with a representative from Dixie High’s team, came tributarily dressed in baseball uniforms. Others came casual, still others honored him with shirts and ties.
The night was somber and sweet as those in attendance shared stories of the young man’s brief life and offered comfort.
The ceremony closed with an invitation to all to stay until the sun came up. At 11:30 p.m. there were still about 150 lingering.
Further celebration of Harrison’s life
Harrison, who had just completed his sophomore year at Snow Canyon, was the youngest of five children of Kreg and Brooke Harrison. Friends and family knew him as K.J., for Kreg Jr.
It was a year of adversity and triumph for K.J. and his teammates. Halfway through region baseball play, the team was forced to forfeit several games when a paperwork oversight was discovered. The mistake cost SC four victories and its starting catcher. Harrison, along with freshman Brady Sargent, were asked to step up to the varsity team and fill the void.
With Sargent playing catcher and Harrison batting for him in the designated hitter spot, the team flourished. The Warriors won 11 of their last 13 games, including two victories over 3-time defending champion Juan Diego. Harrison’s two-strike, two-run single gave Snow Canyon the ninth-inning victory over the Soaring Eagle in the first game of the playoffs.
Harrison also played in the infield, stepping into the critical spot after an injury. He started there and played solid defense in the championship game, a 5-1 Snow Canyon win over Juan Diego. Harrison was at the bottom of the celebratory dog pile near the pitcher’s mound as the Warriors reveled in the school’s first baseball championship in five years.
Memorial services have been scheduled for Harrison at the following times and locations:
- Viewing visitation: 6-8 p.m. on Sunday at Metcalf Mortuary, 288 W. St. George Blvd., in St. George.
- Viewing visitation: 10-11:30 a.m. on Monday at the Green Valley LDS Stake Center, 511 S Valley View Drive, in St. George.
- Funeral: Noon on Monday at the Green Valley LDS Stake Center, 511 S Valley View Drive, in St. George.
- Interment: Tonaquint Cemetery, 1777 S. Dixie Drive, in St. George.
The staff of St. George News extends heartfelt condolences to the Harrison family.
Andy Griffin and Patrick Blake contributed to this story.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.