'He was smart and genuine': Friend remembers kayaker killed in Rhea County
UPDATE: A memorial service has been announced for Andrew Gamble. It will be held Thursday, December 5 from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Hamilton Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy, 5051 Gann Store Road, P.O. Box 358, Hixson, TN 37343.
The Chattanooga kayaking community is dealing with the loss of one of its enthusiasts after he became trapped under a log on Richland Creek in Rhea County over the weekend.
Cole Henderson, a 12-year kayaker himself, had been hitting the water with his good friend Andrew Gamble for nearly seven years now.
"Andrew was such a generous and genuine person always looking out for his friends. Just a great guy to paddle with," Henderson said.
Henderson told Channel 3, Gamble was paddling what they consider class 5 on Richland Creek, an upper-level tier that comes with inherent risks and dangers.
"Logs and trees. Those are usually unpredictable things that we don't always see on the river but you will see in areas like this and you try your best to get out of your boat as much as possible and look at the rapid you're walking or running and make the best of those hazards," Henderson explained.
This particular level even posed a challenge for high-skilled kayakers like Andrew.
"It’s making the right decisions at the right time. It's being for your friends when they need you and I know most of the guys that paddle class 5 in our community of boaters here in Chattanooga make good decisions, have great risk management and would do anything for their friends in a moment's notice."
Henderson says Andrew’s death is a sad moment for the boating community, not only losing a highly-skilled kayaker but an even better friend.
"It's just super unfortunate that this happened to somebody who's well-known in the community for being a very safe boater, having good awareness on the river and always being there for his friends," he said.