Friends, family members and classmates gathered tonight outside Chittenango High School Wednesday evening for a candlelight vigil to remember Brandon Finch, the 16-year-old junior firefighter who died in a tragic scuba diving accident this past Sunday.
Though Finch had recently transferred to Chittenango H.S. in the past year, his new classmates soon recognized him as someone who was quick to laughter, and was almost always smiling.
"I didn't know him well, but I couldn't imagine not doing something," said senior Karlene Becker, who arranged the vigil. "He seemed like such a happy guy. I just remember always seeing him smiling in the hallways."
"Every morning there would be a bunch of people gathered in the lobby when the busses came and you could hear him above everyone laughing really loud," recounted fellow Chittenango junior Mason Brown.
"Whether you knew him or didn't know him, he was a great kid. He always had a smile on his face." said Bridgeport Fire Chief Frank Thompson.
Finch spent much of his time outside of the classroom working with the Bridgeport Volunteer Fire Department as a junior firefighter.
"He worked the Bridgeport Field Day for the last five years and he wasn't even a member yet. That's the kind of kid Brandon was," said Thompson.