Friends of Isrrael Escobar gathered at Steelhead Falls on Monday to honor the friend they lost too soon. Escobar drowned Saturday after getting caught in the undertow of the current created by the falls.
He was a 17-year-old Ridgeview High School student and a member of the school’s band.
“It doesn’t feel real. It’s not ‘he’s gone.’ It’s that he’s away for the weekend. It’s that he’s on vacation. It’s impossible to wrap your head around the fact he’s not here anymore,” Escobar’s friend and Ridgeview senior Luke Smith said.
The Ridgeview Band is a tight-knit group, where friends become family.
“He was like a brother to me. I loved him so much and watching him grow from middle school until now, was just incredible. I’m so sad he wont get to fulfill these amazing things he was capable of,” Smith said.
Escobar’s friends and band mates built a memorial underneath a tree, overlooking the water.
“I hope it’s a reminder to everyone that sees it that something like this could happen to anyone, and to cherish the ones you love the most.” senior Preston Sleeth said.
Escobar’s friends say he was a light in the hallways of Ridgeview.
“He’s just such a charismatic guy. He really just knew everyone at the school. He’s an incredible friend, a role model, his positive attitude — the whole school could feel it every single day,” Sleeth said.
“He was always a happy person,” senior Mattie Dyer said. “He was always laughing and you could hear his laugh from a mile away. I remember we had a band concert on Wednesday and our instructor made some dumb joke and I could hear him laughing in ht audience. He just had that laugh, everyone knew it was him.”
The Redmond School District says Ridgeview did have extra counselors on campus on Monday for any grieving students that just needed someone to talk to.
A GoFundMe has been set up for Escobar’s family to help cover funeral expenses. If interested, you can donate here.