Grayson Burris, a Friend, Son, Teammate
MONTROSE – His smile was infectious; his coaches and fellow players described him as fearless.
Number 22, Grayson Burris, is a hero to us all, and forever in our hearts.
Over 500 people packed Friendship Hall Tuesday to share stories and shed tears for the loss of the 17-year-old Burris who tragically drowned last week trying to save a friend.
At approximately 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 5, Delta County Dispatch received a call about a drowning at the potholes Escalante Creek in Escalante Canyon. (Every year, spring runoff fills a series of cascading pools in the canyon known as the “potholes.”)
According to a news release and confirmed through social media reports, Burris jumped into the rushing waters to save a female friend who fell in and “was in danger and struggling against the current.”
According to a report from Delta County officials, “Grayson went into the pool to rescue her, and apparently got caught in the undercurrent.”
Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee said friends hiking with Burris administered CPR, but he could not be revived.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend,” coach Jim Scary said to the audience, quoting scripture. “We all know what Grayson did, and we celebrate that.”
Scary described the young linebacker for the Montrose High School football team, who wore number 22 for the team, as someone who lived a life full of passion.
“It was about the success of the team; it was about the success of others,” he said, of Burris’s attitude toward life.
That MHS team made it to the state championship game last fall, and although they lost, the team was a beacon of the community. Burris was a proud part of that historic event.
“He was a genuine human being,” childhood friend Cayden James said; of his memories of their friendship, he added, “I will cherish them every day.”
Other teammates described Burris as never backing down from a challenge, describing him as “fearless.”
The most emotional testimony of Grayson Michael Burris, born January 9, 1997, in Anchorage, Alaska, came from his mother, Laura.
She read a letter she wrote two years ago to all three of her sons.
“I love my boys with all of my soul,” she said as members of the audience broke down. “He lived more in his 17 years than his father and I have still.”
She thanked the audience for the outpouring of cards, well wishes and social media post.
On Burris’s Facebook page one friend posted this: “Everyone leaves footprints in your memory, but the ones that leave footprints in your heart are the ones you will truly remember.”
McKee said the runoff this year is very high, and swimming or hiking around in the potholes can be dangerous.
“2004 was the last drowning issue we had there,” McKee reported.
Burris’s death brings a second tragedy to the Montrose High School and the community in recent weeks; in late April, 15-year-old Garret Middleton was killed in a farming accident. He was a member of the MHS baseball team.
A memorial fund has been set up at the NuVista Credit Union under the Grayson Burris Memorial Fund. NuVista Credit Union is PO Box 1085 Montrose, CO 81402; call 970/249-8813 for information.