LAPORTE — Jake West was 17 years old when he died of an undiagnosed heart condition.
He died in 2013 after collapsing on the LaPorte High School football field due to an undetected heart condition.
Dozens gathered Tuesday evening to see the memorial for West. It would have been his twenty-first birthday.
“In life, you were a special young man full of life and nice to all. In passing you became a hero to us all helping thousands of young people in their lives,” said Football Coach, Bob Schellinger.
West’s mom, Julie Schroder, started the Play for Jake Foundation. To date it has screened more than 3,500 high school football players.
17 athletes have discovered heart irregularities. 17 families who are still whole.
West’s mom says the new memorial is just another piece to her son’s legacy.
“It’s really hard for me to drive past this area but now I think I can. I will be able to see that and know that so many of us came to gather for Jake and to honor him and remember him and celebrate him,” said Schroder.
The memorial site reads “Live Life, Be Kind.” Words that students for generations will pass for football games, school events and graduations.
West will not soon be forgotten– as they say at LaPorte High School, once a slicer always a slicer.