Community mourns sudden loss of young man struck by lightning - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Community mourns sudden loss of young man struck by lightning

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RHEA COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Spending time outside in the summer can sometimes be as dangerous as it is fun. A family and community in Rhea County know this too well as they mourn the sudden death of a young man and son who was killed by a lightning strike this week.

"It was a sudden, tragic loss. Our hearts are broken here at Rhea County High School, the Rhea County community," says Rhea County High School assistant principal Heather Jewell.

She can't get over the loss of Jacob York. The 2015 graduate of the high school was struck and killed by lightning Thursday while working construction in Alabama. Jewell spoke to Jacob's mother the next morning. She's a teacher at the school. Jewell says it was difficult talking to "one of her own" about the tragedy.

"She was holding up as well as could be expected," adds Jewell. "She's a very faithful woman."

According to the family, Jacob was taken to a hospital in Birmingham but couldn't be saved.

Jewell also says Jacob was hard-working, humble, and had impeccable manners, and everyone will miss his contagious smile. Jacob always put others ahead of himself, exemplified by his decision to be an organ donor.

"Even in his death, his life will live on and others will benefit from him. This speaks to the type of man Jacob York was," says Jewell.

He was also a standout on the football team, but only for the good of the team. He wasn't comfortable with public recognition. Head coach Mark Pemberton wants everyone to remember the impact Jacob had on and off the field.

"The little kids that play football in this area, they know who he is and who he was. They all looked up to him. He's a tremendous kid. It's very unfortunate that this had to happen," says Pemberton.

He remembers Jacob making a lot of great plays, including a last second pass reception for a touchdown against Cookeville in 2014. But Pemberton says that for Jacob it was always about the team.

"He was going to try to score, and he did. That's the kind of kid he was. He was going to make sure we won the ball game," adds Pemberton, holding back tears.

Jewell wants the York family to know they have support from everyone at the school as they go through this difficult time.

"We are lifting them up in out thoughts and prayers and we're here for them," says Jewell.

Funeral arrangements for Jacob York are pending. He is survived by his parents and three siblings.

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