HOLDEN BEACH, NC (WWAY) — As the recovery efforts continue to find Kwesi Sample, people are remembering him.
Sample was visiting Holden Beach with the Xenos Christian Fellowship from Columbus, Ohio. Members of the group say that nearly 1,700 people made the trip from Ohio and are speaking out about Tuesday’s disappearance.
“We got the call from one of the girls in his group and she said he was missing,” Lane Funari, a member of the Fellowship said.
Twenty-one year old Sample went missing around 5 p.m. Tuesday evening when he was swimming near Holden Beach. According to church group members, Sample was geocaching with friends near a pier.
“He said ‘yeah, I got it,’ and swam under, and I guess started screaming for help and the two guys he was with weren’t strong enough swimmers to get him,” Funari reports.
Wednesday the Xenos Christian Fellowship held a memorial service for Sample at Brunswick Community College.
Members said it was an emotional service as everyone honored Sample’s memory. One of the most notable parts of the service was the speech given by Sample’s group leader paying tribute to the person he was, they said.
“It made me cry. He was talking about how Kwesi was always trying to better himself and help those around him.” Funari said.
Members say the group rents a home on Holden Beach every year. Terry Lisk, manager of Beach Mart, says over the last five years the store has developed a relationship with the Fellowship and looks forward to their visit.
“We have got to know a lot of the kids and they’re special,” Lisk said.
Lisk says some of the kids came into the store Wednesday night and shared happy memories of Kwesi from last year’s trip with her.
“He wanted to get baptized on his birthday in Holden Beach. He said he felt like this was close to heaven to him,” Lisk said.
The Xenos Christian Fellowship is staying at Holden Beach until Saturday.
Rescue crews still have not recovered Sample’s body.