LARGO — One by one, they paused to get a glimpse of reminders of a young life.
A collage of childhood photos. A pair of green and white Nike shoes. Awards from the high school basketball team.
Hundreds of mourners came, filling row after row in the main sanctuary at Indian Rocks Baptist Church. They were there to say goodbye to Keith MacCollom, 17, one of four teens killed April 10 in a late-night crash on a quiet residential street in Seminole.
"The impact of that event has reverberated through the community," said Andy Mason, senior pastor at First Christian Church of Seminole. "Joey, Nate, LeShawn, Keith … I don't think a single one of them had a clue that when they got in their car that night, their next stop would be eternity."
It's okay to grieve, Mason told the crowd.
But mourning wasn't on the minds of those who got up to speak about "Keithy," a teen who was serious enough to get perfect grades but silly enough to sneak out with friends every once in awhile.
Standing at a podium flanked by a heart-shaped floral arrangement, friends, family and teammates eulogized the teen who was a standout player on Seminole High School's varsity basketball team.
They remembered his wit. His notorious appetite. His knack for coming up with the perfect excuse to explain why he was always late. The way he was good at almost any sport — except golf. How he had decided to become a lawyer, like his uncle.
And most of all, his legendary ability to fall asleep anywhere.
"He was all those things and more," Mason said. "There's an emptiness in our life that will never fully heal. But we don't have to grieve like those who have no hope."
MacCollom knew the way to heaven, the pastor said, and he's there waiting for the rest of us.
Kameel Stanley can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893?8643.