Friends and family of a Bend teen killed in a tragic rafting accident in Southern Oregon remembered her Friday night. Candles were lit in memory of 16-year old Nichole Pomeroy.
Last Sunday, Pomeroy was rafting with friends on the North Umpqua River. The raft flipped, throwing everyone into the river, Pomeroy's life jacket came off, and she was swept under and drowned.
"It didn't really hit me until the next morning," said Justin Ellison, soon to marry the teen's mother. "Now it's the realization that she's not coming through the door."
Her family says it was just a tragic accident.
"You know, I wish there was a bigger more important lesson that could be learned from this," said Ellison. "But unfortunately, it was just a horrible accident that took someone we love near and dear."
As flames danced along the night sky, friends and family shared stories and special memories of Pomeroy's life.
"She'd always help me and warn me about the mean teachers and the good teachers," said Miya Pomeroy, Nicholes cousin.
Her family says she was an aspiring photographer, working with a professional studio in La Pine to learn the ropes of the trade.
"She was always taking pictures," said Ellison. "She recently got a nice camera to do that, so it was really kind of nice to see her come home and show us what she had taken pictures of that day."
Those who were lucky enough to the know the Bend teen say her caring spirit will never be forgotten.
"Even the people she didn't like, she was always nice and happy to them," said Pomeroy. "She was just really nice."
As the candles burned in Columbia Park, those remembering the good times will always have the pictures Nichole left them with to remember her by.
"All I can do is cherish her memory," said Ellison, "and live for her. Instead of being sad she is gone, just live for her and immortalize her for the great person she was."
An account has been set up to help the family with funeral costs. Donations can be made under Nichole Pomeroy's name at any Mid Oregon Federal Credit Union.