Last week the Fayetteville-Manlius community was hit hard with the loss of two young men in a devastating, still surreal, tragedy.
The lives of both Joshua Davis, 17, and Kevin Goich, 18, seniors at F-M High School, were taken suddenly, pouring instantaneous grief and heartbreak into stunned students, friends and families.
Both were killed after the SUV Davis was driving plummeted down a 40-foot cliff and overturned at the base of the T.H. Kinsella Quarry in Manlius. Davis was pronounced dead at the scene and Goich was airlifted to University Hospital, where he later died.
On Tuesday May 1, early morning, F-M High School students first heard the news of their peers' deaths. After a formal announcement was made to students and staff by F-M Principal James Chupaila, kids began to show up at Immaculate Conception Church in Manlius for its 9 a.m. daily mass. Goich had been a communicant there. Gradually, more and more kids dropped in and out throughout the day.
Susie Ritz, youth minister, said she had never seen anything like it before.
"Their first thought was to come to church," Ritz said, noting that there were many other friends of Goich and Davis congregating at other places of worship, as well. "I think they wanted some grounding. We tried to carefully talk if needed."
A few parents stopped by as well, but Ritz said they more or less tried to stay in the background, wanting to give the kids their space.
More than one teenager lamented to Ritz on the sobering what-if's of life: "If I'd just have known it was the last time I'd see them..."
"Every day counts," Ritz said.
Pizza and hugs
Teens approached Ritz early that same morning looking for a way to pay homage to Davis and Goich. It was their idea to hold a prayer service.