The first of three memorials was held for student-athletes from the Euless area killed in a crash.
Gaius "Keio" Vaenuku was a well-rounded young man getting ready for his freshman season of college football at the University of Utah.
Vaenuku, 18, Polo Manukainiu, 19, and Polo's younger brother Lolo Uhatafe,14, died in a single rollover crash on a freeway near Albuquerque on Monday.
Friday evening, family and friends gathered to celebrate Keio's life. His older brother Reed Vaenuku said, "He started growing out his hair and he started growing out his beard too and I'm like what are you doing trying to be like me?"
Keio loved football and was highly recruited in high school. FOX4 visited with him more than once during his senior season. He was going to play one year with the Utes then do a 2-year Mormon mission.
His father Sam Vaenuku had to fight back tears during our interview when he talked about a picture his American Airlines co-workers sent him. They were standing on the tarmac in the shape of a heart. "Just like to thank my co-workers and American Airlines for your support and their love," he said.
In another picture, his co-workers also stood in a formation that showed two t's, for Keio's former glory days with the Trinity Trojans.
Mr. Vaenuku talked about how proud he was of everything his son had accomplished, in such a short time. "Man I wish I was getting to see you play football again, all I do is watch your highlights," he said of his son.
He said he and his wife only planned one funeral. When they saw how many lives were impacted by their son, they planned this one for the public and former classmates to attend.
The family will have a private funeral, tomorrow.
KDFW FOX 4
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