Family and friends of a Moanalua High School senior who died in September gathered today for a special memorial in an effort to move past the pain and to remind others to be safe.
On Sept. 1, Leighton Mow was found at the bottom of the pond at Kapena Falls in Nuuanu Valley. He was with friends, and like many other visitors, he jumped off a ledge and into the water.
Loved ones say the teen’s life was full of promise.
A former classmate of Leighton’s decided that, as a way to ease the pain, to hold a baseball tournament at Keehi Lagoon Saturday in his honor.
It’s something Leighton would have loved, since he played baseball at Moanalua. “When I heard the news, I couldn’t believe it,” said event coordinator Jorden Takushi, who was a close friend. “I sunk into tears, I was in a deep hole for awhile. I couldn’t believe it.”
Baseball friends from Moanalua and Aiea High Schools joined the tournament.
Leighton’s family were touched by the gesture and cheered alongside everyone else.
But it’s obvious the pain is still fresh. “I get choked up when I think of him,” said Leighton’s father Creighton Mow. “I’m very emotional they all came today. But I miss him a lot.”
Older sister Kimberly was teary-eyed as well. “I have to say, only in Hawaii, that people can come together and show that they care, and it’s really touching.”
The Mow family says today was a happy day. Tomorrow, they will visit Kapena Falls once again.
On each visit, the family hopes to find warning signs of the potential danger of jumping into the pond. But, so far, nothing has been posted by the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).
“We did see someone — DLNR, I hope — cut trees down a little bit where they were swinging from,” says Creighton Mow. “It’s cleared out, so now there’s no danger of swinging into the pond at all. As far as people jumping into the pond, they can’t stop that.”
“The only thing we can do is educate the youth,” added Kimberly. “Be careful. It’s good to have fun, but at the end of the day, your parents and your siblings want you to come home.”
A DLNR spokesperson contacted Saturday said warning signs have not been posted yet because they’re still “analyzing the situation.”