Graham organizers combine efforts to ensure water safety

Local News

Summer is the perfect time for some family fun at the lake, but as one family knows too well, drowning happens fast and to anyone.

Tracey Terasas, grandmother of Wyatt Dale Terasas who lost his life to accidental drowning at 3-years-old, took a tragic circumstance and turned it into a way to save other lives.

That’s how the non-profit ‘Remembering Wyatt Dale Water Safety Awareness’ came about with a mission of  ‘saving lives, one jacket at a time.’

“It was five seconds, and he was gone,” said Tracey Terasas.

On July 7, 2013, tragedy struck for the Terasas family when 3-year-old Wyatt Dale drowned at Possum Kingdom Lake.

Aaron Teresas and his mother, Tracy, have made it their goal to save lives through life jackets.

“Wyatt’s story has reached thousands of people,” Terasas said. “We’ve given away 3,500 jackets by the end of this summer.”

After weather forced an event in May to be canceled, the Graham Fire Department lent a hand by hosting free life jacket fittings.”This is what we do, we try to help people,” Graham Assistant Fire Chief Jim Don Laurent said. “We want people to be safe and let them know this is a place that they can come to for questions or for safety.” 

Parents and their kids are encouraged to bring old jackets to the fire department to trade them in for a new size. For Terasas, safety doesn’t stop there. ‘Water watcher’ tags are gifted with free jackets.

“It’s a 15-minute kind of increment,” Terasas said. They wear the tag, they watch the kids, they don’t get on the phone and then switch it off and let another adult watch the kids.” 

It can happen to anyone. Terasas says the one time Wyatt wasn’t wearing the jacket, was the one time they lost him.

“If you drop something under the water you can’t see inches under there,” Terasas said. “There was a drop, Wyatt went under the water and you could not see him and there were people all around.”

The free fittings are available until June 14. You can stop by anytime between 8 a.m.—5 p.m. to help ensure no one else experiences the same tragedy as the Terasas family.

On June 15, the organization is hosting a “Kid Fish” water safety fair at Possum Kingdom Lake

The first 100 kids get a free life jacket. For the details or to donate, click here.

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