Community gathers to remember Wilson

LIMA — Nearly 200 members of the community gathered at Martin Luther King Jr. Park Thursday night to remember a local teen who died Monday from injuries suffered in a large fight Friday, April 12.

Jamere Wilson’s football coaches remembered him as a special kid who was raised the right way and shared prayers and pleas for other children to continue on the right path.

“You could feel his presence and spirit coming through his eyes,” Lydell Jackson said, addressing the crowd. “I never forgot him, and every time I saw him, I stopped. Because whether you played on my team or another, I want you to win.”

The coach of Wilson’s Panthers team, Rodney Lott, said a parent called him to organize something at the practice field where he played to bring the community together for healing and called Wilson the sunshine of the team.

“It’s a long road for his family,” he said. “He was a bright kid, smart, hardworking and dedicated. He didn’t talk back and did what you told him to do.”

The Lima Police Department said a 14-year-old was in custody in connection with the incident, which took place Friday night on South Scott Street. Police declined to identify the boy in custody Monday.

Jeff Williams, the father of one of Wilson’s friends, said his feelings during the event were indescribable, but he wished to remind everyone of the joy the boy brought to life.

“I can’t even explain it,” he said. “Now that today’s come, I feel more joy. This was meant to bring joy as we remember Jamere, and we might get cries from time to time, but being a believer in God, we want everyone to remember what Jamere has done for us.”

Williams said the last photo Wilson took was in his own house, and his son’s bond with the boy was so strong they shared a secret language that only they could understand.

Wilson’s West Middle School coach, Stephen Brownlow, said he met the boy, like the other coaches, before he started playing for him in seventh grade, and he quickly gained a reputation as a leader on the field and a good teammate who was passionate for the game and wanted to be an impact player.

But Brownlow said he felt disgusted the community had to attend the event and wished students would have the strength to seek help for their problems.

“Talk to a teacher or a coach,” he said. “We weren’t having problems like that with Jamere, though. But if you need help, you need to talk to someone you trust to give you good information.”

Jackson added, “You don’t have another day to get it right or to love each other or respect each other. It’s cool to have common sense. A simple fight can turn into something that you can’t turn back from.”

Lott said, “Do the right thing. It’s OK to walk away from any situation. You have to make the right choice.”

Lima City Council president Jamie Dixon was on hand to show support for the community and took note of the number of children at the memorial, saying adults need to show up for their kids as much as they are showing up for their peers.

“We have to make sure that we get a message across as adults,” he said. “We have to be mindful of the circle we keep, and then we have to speak to the young man who might have cost himself and say that we still love him.”

Williams said, “It hurts that our kids are going through this. I tell my son I love him, but if he senses trouble he doesn’t have to be there. Just walk away. It’s OK to be a leader the right way.”

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.