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High school football: Hundreds hear touching tributes at Springville teen’s funeral

SHARE High school football: Hundreds hear touching tributes at Springville teen’s funeral

SPRINGVILLE — The body of Brandon Curtis is now at rest on the west side of the Springville Evergreen Cemetery.

But it's clear from the words spoken Tuesday at his funeral, and from the number of people who were there to pay their final respects, that Curtis' deeds in life and his tragic death will have a lasting impact on the community, his friends, family, teammates, and prep sports circles in general for some time.

"We have seen a marvelous miracle," Springville football coach Scott Mitchell said of how Curtis' death has brought so many people together in search of understanding, healing and comfort.

Curtis, 18, a senior on the Springville High football team, died last Wednesday from injuries suffered a day earlier in a rollover accident in the Springville High School parking lot following football practice. Three other members of the Red Devils' football team were injured in the accident, but all three are recovering and attended Tuesday's service.

Several hundred packed the Hobble Creek Stake Center in east Springville to grieve and honor Curtis one final time.

"We are a community of love, and it's important to remember that during these times we are all together, and that we all care about each other," said Craig Lamont, Curtis' youth wrestling coach, who also reminded the standing-room-only gathering that the funeral's main purpose was to begin the process of healing.

Mitchell, who spoke prior to Lamont, said Curtis was a person with a great desire to alleviate the pain of others, and those mourning his death should think of how he'd want to help them get through this tough time.

"He doesn't want us to worry," Mitchell said.

Mitchell, who said he has received condolences from all over the world, called Curtis his new "superhero." He remembers vividly Curtis' last day at practice, just minutes before the accident that took his life, when he stood up and encouraged his teammates to push and help each other to become better.

"That was the last thing that Brandon said to us. It was as if he knew he was going to be gone for a while and he wanted us to be ready. He wanted us to be prepared," Mitchell said.

That was one of many examples of how Curtis was "steadfast and immovable" and "always abounding in great works," Mitchell said. He likened him to Abinadi, the Book of Mormon prophet who died a martyr before seeing the fruits of his work. He said Curtis' concern for others has changed lives forever.

"He died before he could witness the great influence and impact of his life," Mitchell said.

Family friend Matt Day said Curtis was always about "doing and experiencing." He had a passion for fishing and camping, and had a nickname for everyone. His own was "Squirrel," because of his uncanny ability to climb.

One of the last times Day saw Curtis was when he was over at his house searching the Web for a gorilla suit to buy for pranks. Behind the instigator and mischievous side, however, was a "Christ-like man" who others were drawn to. Being righteous and helping others was simply Curtis' nature.

"I mean, he was the real deal," Day said.

One of the more touching moments at Tuesday's service was when members of the football team stood and joined Curtis' siblings in singing "I Am a Child of God."

Efforts continue to raise money to help the Curtis family with medical and funeral expenses. Curtis' father Jesse was hospitalized a few months ago with a life-threatening illness and remains unemployed.

More than 200 people donated blood on Monday at a blood drive held in Brandon Curtis' honor at the high school. A car wash on Monday in the school parking lot raised several thousand dollars. More than 800 shirts, honoring Springville's "BC 30," have been sold to raise money. Springville fans plan to wear the shirts at all home games this season. Cash donations are still being accepted at Ream's grocery store and at all branches of Central Bank and Trust.

"It is great to see the compassion that people show to someone they most likely have never seen," Springville senior running back Marcus Case said.

e-mail: jimr@desnews.com