EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) – Members of the F.J. Reitz High School community continue to mourn the loss of one of their students.
Kaden Vera was a freshman at Reitz High School, and a member of not only the football team but the diving team as well. His loss is being felt throughout the school and many of his teammates are reeling from the news.
Freshman head football coach Matt Lehman says his main goal right now is to just let his athletes know he and the staff are there for them.
“Our main focus right now is to make sure that these guys are getting their feelings out,” Lehman explained. “That they’re not only being there for others, cause that’s what you often hear. Make sure you’re there for somebody, taking the help that comes to them. Making sure that they’re leaning on the shoulder that’s provided for them. “
Coach Lehman says the first person he reached out to after hearing the news was Kaden’s older brother and soon after he maneuvered his focus to the rest of the team.
“A lot of his close friends from his squad last year, I did reach out to them,” Lehman said. “I texted a good majority of the team yesterday that I knew who had a good relationship with Kaden.
Lehman received the call early Wednesday morning and it was one of the worst things he could’ve woken up to hear.
Lehman adds that it’s very difficult for many of his students to process because they never imagined losing a friend so early in life.
“My bestfriend was the first solider from Indiana to be killed over in Iraq and I was 21 when that happened and I got very similar phone call,” Lehman said. “I remember how much I struggled as a young adult trying to process and deal with that, so I really can’t fathom what a 15, 16 year old is going through.”
Lehman says Vera’s jersey will be hung in his football locker in memory of him.