The victim of a high school shooting outside Spokane was memorialized over the weekend. At the same time, his friends and neighbors remembered him at a big event that is important to the small community of Freeman, Washington.
The Southeast Spokane County Fair is little, but the celebration was big: it was the end of the harvest and a season spent raising animals. This year, there were signs, pins and T-shirts everywhere with Freeman High School’s mascot – a Scotty dog -- along with blue and red heart and the words “Freeman Strong.”
"I feel like this community is amazing," said Barb Gady, who was wearing one of the shirts. "We do care about each other and that we are strong, strong in our hearts."
Gady and husband, Dwayne, teach elementary school in Freeman. Their 15-year-old son, Daniel ,is a sophomore at Freeman High School, where another sophomore fatally shot a classmate two weeks ago. The two watched as Daniel prepped his cows for the fair, blowing errant pieces of hay off the rumps of his cattle -- following in the footsteps of his grandfather, father and uncle, who were all eastern Washington cattlemen.
As his parents watched with pride, they also seemed rubbed raw by emotion.
Three students were injured in the shooting at Freeman High School. A fourth – Sam Strahan – was killed.
"It could have been him," Dwayne Gady said. "I mean he was up there and he just chose to go a different way that morning for some reason"
Hundreds of people attended a memorial service for Strahan outside of Spokane over the weekend.