By Sommer Brokaw, Staff Writer
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BOCA GRANDE — A 15-year-old Port Charlotte High School student died after being rescued from the waters off Boca Grande Saturday evening.
Marine units from Charlotte and Lee counties were called out to Boca Grande beach regarding a lost swimmer near a lighthouse at 5:44 p.m. At 6:15 p.m., Boca Grande Marine Unit found a 15-year-old floating in the water. They pulled him out, but could not resuscitate him. It’s unclear how long he was in the water before emergency crews were called. He never made it to the hospital, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
On social media the teen was identified as Gody Marcelin, a PCHS football player. A memorial vigil was planned for Sunday evening at the school.
PCHS Football Coach Jordan Ingman said Gody was leading a Bible study at the beach. Gody was there along with the team chaplain, the linebacker coach, 10 or so football players — about 30 kids altogether. Some decided to go in the water.
Ingman said Gody knew how to swim, but “the tide was just too strong … There’s a few of our guys who got caught in the tide. The other two made it, and Gody, unfortunately, didn’t make it.
“Gody was very strong in his faith, and he was very passionate about it,” Ingman said. “And anybody that knows Gody would know his smile just lit up the room, and he’s just a very special young man that will be missed by many.”
Brittany McNealy said Gody was a mentor to her oldest son, Kristofer.
“He was the most respectable, well-mannered young man I’ve known,” she said. “He had so much potential, determination, motivation on/off the field, including school. I’ve seen how much he accepted my sons. He took them under his wing.”
Port Charlotte Pop Warner Bandits Coach Shea Davis, who knew Gody for six
years as a player, said he would come back to watch games.
“He would come out to the games and support them and let them know they had someone to strive to be like,” Davis said.
Davis added that Gody was like a member of his own family.
“He was kind of like a third son to me,” Davis said. “I spent a lot of time with him and took a lot of care of him while he was a Bandit for six years.”
He continued: “He was an amazing young man who persevered. He didn’t always have everything perfect in his life, and he always made the best of any situation that he could, and the last couple of years he was really starting to figure out life and the right path to go on. He was one of those kids that could have gone down either path easily toward success or failure, and he chose success.”
Ingman said that Gody was “absolutely a mentor.”
“He was an icon in our (Pop Warner) community,” Ingman said. “He will be tremendously missed. His smile would light up a room. He was a great teammate, very unselfish, very kind. He was a blessing to coach. He was just a very special young man.”