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Families hope to create memorial for Niagara River drowning victims

Posted at 6:37 PM, Jun 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-28 18:38:13-04

Mario Guthrie, 29, and his friend and co-worker Scott Vater, 46, died Monday in the Niagara River. Guthrie was trying to grab a large piece of driftwood. Vater jumped in to help when his friend started to struggle in the current.

Now, Guthrie's family is hoping that piece of driftwood can be the centerpiece of a memorial for both victims.

"We sit and we reminisce and we tell our stories," Kimberly Guthrie, Mario's mother, said. "It brings joy to our hearts that he's not going to be forgotten."

Andrew Halbert found the log and saved it. He reached out to both families with the idea for a memorial. He's hoping the city of Buffalo can help with a permanent remembrance at Broderick Park.

"They're just a great family," he said, speaking of the Guthries. "They really are just a great family. They care deeply about their son. When I see something like this it reminds me of my family as I'm sure it would anybody else."

Guthrie's family hopes a memorial will also help prevent future tragedies in the Niagara River by serving as a reminder of their loss.

"We don't want to see harm come to our kids," Kimberly said. "But, as parents we have to stand by our children. No parent should lose their child."

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