Teen killed at bonfire party laid to rest
Friends, family rev engines to honor 19-year-old
About 700 people packed into Anastasia Baptist Church in St. Augustine on Thursday morning to say goodbye to a friend, classmate and family member.
Ryan Scott Ford, 19, a senior at Pedro Menendez High School, was beaten to death Saturday night at a bonfire party in the woods off Old St. Augustine Road in Jacksonville. Two men have been charged in connection with his death.
Ford is remembered as an outdoorsman who loved to work on his own and others' trucks.
Ford's friends revved their engines and peel out in a procession headed to the cemetery in honor and in memory of their beloved friend and classmate.
"His truck was voted best vehicle in the school and he was always working on that, and that's part of God's design in him, that creativity, wanting to be out in his creation," said Mason Reigger, Ford's pastor. "Ryan was a wonderful young man."
A young man who also loved fishing and hunting. His pallbearers were all cousins and friends who wore matching fishing shirts as Ford often did.
"It was a beautiful service, it was a true tribute to Ryan and the family, and he was an awesome kid," family friend Leigh Ward said. "They were all raised in Anastasia Baptist Church."
Ford's older brother Chris was one of many to speak at his service.
"He says he forgives the two guys that did this or the people who did this because of what Jesus did for us and how he forgives us in spite of ourselves," Reigger said. "So I thought that was really, really moving that he was willing to get up and do that."
As friends of Ford were inside remembering him at his funeral, their trucks were parked outside with messages remembering a second friend and classmate they lost this same week -- 18-year-old Jerad Revels.
"Pedro is just a mess right now. It's just sad, but we're going to stay together, you know, as a family and get through it," said Allison Flanders, a friend of both teens.
A number of grief counselors have been at the high school all week. Reigger, who's been around Ford's family since they were at the hospital last weekend, said they're holding up well, surrounded by a lot of love and support.
"It just helps us to understand that life is a gift and that we take what we're given and live it to the fullest and live for God's glory," he said.
Reigger said he took a walk on the beach in St. Augustine on Wednesday night and noticed along the beach people had etched into the sand "Rest In Peace Ryan Scott and Jerad Revels." He said it was very moving to see and shows how much everyone is coming together to remember these two young men.
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