NSU community copes with loss of wrestler

ABERDEEN, S.D. (KSFY) - Losing a friend or loved one is never easy, just ask the friends and teammates of Curtis LeMair.

The Northern State University wrestler died unexpectedly in October.

KSFY Photojournalist Dave Hauck shows how they are coping with the loss.

"You can't take each day for granted because you just don't know what can happen," student Brooke Luitjens said. "Some people won't go on to experience the rest of life, and that's just kind of what is expected."

"It's news that really that really shocks a lot of individuals because it just doesn't occur a lot," "Especially on a campus [where] we have 3,600, just about 3,500 students."

"I remember right when Curty passed away I was in class," student Samantha Stethem said. "Got the news, got the email. I went out off class, had a quick call with his younger sister, and I got back to class, and my professor asked if I was okay."

"It also means our processes, so when they do occur we are offering the correct support of the individuals -- their teammates, their friends, their family and the rest of the campus community," Director of Communications and Marketing Justin Fraase said.

"Making the wristbands -- it was more for his family and for everyone else to have a part of him on them everyday to remember him," Stethem said.

"The sense of turnover every year with new individuals coming in, I think that we as a university, we owe it to those individuals to inform them about what happened, not necessarily focusing on tragedy portion, but really remembering the individual, the upside, the smile that Curtis had, and we owe it to him, we owe it to his family to pay tribute to that," Fraase said.

"It affects the university by making sure people that were close with Curits are still going on with their studies and realizing this a daily thing that happens, someone passes away," Stethem said. "We have to realize that he is in a better place now."

"When it comes to hands-on experience and getting really to know the people around you, that is what we pride ourselves on at Northern," Fraase said.