A 15-year-old West Bladen High School student drowned Sunday afternoon, and on Monday, friends and family mourned his passing. Ken Hammond was overcome with emotion, struggling to accept the death of his 15-year-old son Cody. Friends said Cody and three other boys went for a swim in a reservoir next to Big Swamp Sunday afternoon. They were attempting to swim from an island in the middle, back to shore. But Cody Hammond didn't make it. “The loss hurts bad. I worry a whole lot about his dad, Ken. He's very close to me,” said Steve Thurman, Cody’s coach and teacher. Cody was a sophomore on the varsity baseball team at West Bladen. Friends and family said playing baseball was what Cody lived for. “He was the kind of person that just had a vision and once he locked onto it that was it; and baseball was it for him,” said family friend Russell Benson. “Win or lose, we always had a good time, we always had each other’s backs, on and off the ball field,” said Cody’s teammate Zachary Davenport. It took four water rescue teams about four hours to find Cody’s body. At his school, the flags flew at half-staff Monday. Classmates say he was an overall good guy. “He was the kind of kid that everyone knew. He was real real nice, always happy, always had a joke to tell you never really see him upset or anything,” said classmate Nicole Thompson. Friends said Cody knew how to swim, and had a pool in his backyard, but the distance the boys were swimming on Sunday seemed to pose a problem. Friends said another one of the boys needed help making it to shore, and when they turned back to look for Cody, he was under water.
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