Mom’s answer clear: ‘What I needed, wanted to do’

Aaron Peters was 13 when he drowned on June 24, 2015

A flower floats in the Sandy River at Oxbow Park near the spot where Aaron Peters drowned one year ago. June 24, 2016 (KOIN)
A flower floats in the Sandy River at Oxbow Park near the spot where Aaron Peters drowned one year ago. June 24, 2016 (KOIN)

GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — One year ago, Aaron Peters of Port Angeles was at Oxbow Park on the Sandy River with a Native American leadership group. He and other teens in the group — including his sisters — decided to wade across the river on a very hot day.

A picture of Aaron Peters hangs near the free life vest kiosk at Oxbow Park on the Sandy River, June 24, 2016. The teen drowned near this spot one year ago. (KOIN)
A picture of Aaron Peters hangs near the free life vest kiosk at Oxbow Park on the Sandy River, June 24, 2016. The teen drowned near this spot one year ago. (KOIN)

“He wasn’t going to do yoga so that day they were playing by the water and was trying to cross the river,” his mother Bonnie Peters told KOIN 6 News on Friday. “He happened to be next to a drop off and that’s when he got swept under.”

She said her 13-year-old son “always inspired people, he was always that character that knew how to uplift everybody’s spirits.”

Through her son, she said she’s “learned a lot of humbleness and, you know, trying to commemorate his memory in any way possible.”

Aaron Peters Water Safety Fund

When she went back to Oxbow Park after her son drowned, she said she was looking for a life vest kiosk. But there wasn’t one.

“The answer was pretty clear what I wanted to do and what I needed to do,” she said.

Aaron Peters' mother at the dedication of a free life vest kiosk at Oxbow Park on the Sandy River June 24, 2016, near the spot where her son died one year earlier (KOIN)
Aaron Peters’ mother at the dedication of a free life vest kiosk at Oxbow Park on the Sandy River June 24, 2016, near the spot where her son died one year earlier (KOIN)

Exactly one year after Aaron drowned in the Sandy River, his mother and other family members officially dedicated a life vest kiosk at Oxbow Park for people to use as needed. They worked with Metro for this one and hope to put a dozen kiosks throughout Oregon and Washington.

First responders were also at the dedication, and Aaron’s grandfather was among those who hugged them and thanked them for their efforts.

Aaron was found in about 8 feet of water about 100 feet from where he was last seen.

“We know you couldn’t change the outcome of this but we may change the outcome in the future by what we’re doing,” Aaron’s grandfather, Don Wood, said.

Bonnie added she wanted to give the public access to something that may save a life.

“Even if it’s just one person that got saved from it, that’s good enough.”

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All donations made to Aaron Peters Water Safety Fund, Inc are tax deductible as we are 501(c)(3) approved. All donations made will be used to build more kiosks and supply them with life jackets. 

Aaron Peters in an undated photo seen on the website Aaron Peters Water Safety Fund, June 24, 2016
Aaron Peters in an undated photo seen on the website Aaron Peters Water Safety Fund, June 24, 2016

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