Thousands gather to celebrate the life of Jake West
LA PORTE, Ind. -- Over 3,000 people and twelve high school football teams from across Indiana packed into the stands of Kiwanis Field at La Porte High School Sunday. All to remember varsity football player Jake West, who died Wednesday of heart disease, when he collapsed during football practice.
"A part of me is gone that I will never get back but I'm thankful for the 17 beautiful years I had with my baby brother," said Courtney West, Jake's older sister.
Courtney is broken hearted about the death of her 17 year old brother.
But she smiled as shared some of her favorite "Jake moments" with the crowd.
"I rolled down the window and said, 'Hey, forgot your half full Oreo Blizzard in the car!'" Courtney said. "Jake said, 'I got that for you because I knew you secretly wanted one, keep it. I love you.'"
Jake’s best friend Noah Boardman also took to the podium at the service.
"Jake was a good kid, he was my brother and I loved him. We always joked around, told him he had a big head," Boardman said. "But to go along with that head, he had a huge heart."
Jake’s friends say he loved his mom to no end.
"They had the strongest bond I have ever seen between a mother and a son," explained one of Jake's closest friends, Drew Kessler.
Friends and family say they cannot fully grasp that Jake is now gone. But his teammates say every time they take to the field, he will be with them.
"Our entire football team; we are all family and we lost a brother, but we know he’s looking down on us," said Mike Ash, La Porte High School football team captain.