Tooele community supporting family of teen who drowned in reservoir

Feb 14, 2023, 11:27 PM | Updated: Apr 17, 2023, 2:45 pm

TOOELE, Utah — The Tooele community is coming together to support the family of a 14-year-old boy who drowned after falling through ice at Settlement Canyon Reservoir. One family friend has come up with a few ways people can honor Jayden Davis while helping his parents with funeral expenses, as the tight-knit community copes with his death.

He may have been a freshman, but the 14-year-old was already becoming a star player on the Tooele High School Varsity Football team. Kendyl Ballard has dozens of videos showing Jayden on the football field last fall, playing mostly quarterback. But he was also known to play safety, running back, corner and linebacker.

“He was just kind of a go-getter,” Ballard said. “He wanted to be involved in everything, and especially when it involved his loves — his basketball and football and his friends.”

Ballard described the boy she watched grow up alongside her son as outgoing and funny, with everyone wanting to be his friend.

The Tooele High football mom often saw Jayden outside of school sports, whether it was at school dances or when all the kids would hang out.

Last week, Ballard — who is a photographer — took family photos of Jayden’s family. At one point, they sat in the kitchen talking about Jayden’s future and his life.

Photo of Jayden Davis. (Courtesy: Kendyl Ballard)

Never did Ballard think that just days later, she’d be sharing those photos to remember him. Jayden died Monday evening after falling through ice while with friends at Settlement Canyon Reservoir.

“It’s kind of the ‘kids just being kids’ scenario, something that ends tragically,” Ballard said, getting emotional.

Search and rescue crews recover body of teen who fell through ice at Tooele reservoir

She described the news of Jayden’s death as a punch in the gut — one that’s left her son devastated.

“It’s a hard conversation, and especially for somebody who is so young and had so much ahead of him,” Ballard said.

With the Tooele community reeling from what happened to Jayden, Ballard began to get text messages from parents and community members.

“I have so many people that are already reaching out to me that want to support this family that we love so much, so why not support them and just do what we can?” she said.

Fundraiser for Jayden Davis’ family. (Courtesy: Kendyl Ballard)

Holding up her phone, Ballard showed a purple buffalo design — Tooele’s mascot — that will be printed on T-shirts for a fundraiser. The buffalo is surrounded by a tweaked version of the high school’s slogan from its fight song, “Forever and forever in Tooele.”

The design has Jayden’s initials and reads, “Forever and Forever In Our Hearts.”

T-shirts are $20 for adult sizes S-XL, with orders accepted until Feb. 17. Payment with sizing can be sent to @aballard1427 on Venmo.

In just a couple hours’ time, Ballard and her husband Andrew said they’d already received a few thousand dollars worth of T-shirt orders.

Ballard said people can also send funds to help with funeral costs directly to Jayden’s mother, Kristen Porter, through Venmo at @Kristen-joy-88.

In addition to a T-shirt fundraiser, Ballard organized a meal train that the basketball and football families have already filled up through March. She is also putting together a memorial balloon release event, that, right now, is planned for Friday at 6 p.m. on the Tooele High School football field.

To them, the outreach and support is showing, “How much Jayden was loved,” Ballard said. “He truly was.”

‘He was a pretty good kid,’ grandfather of Tooele teen remembers his grandson

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A former San Juan County sheriff’s deputy has been arrested on suspicion of child sex abuse. (San...

Daniel Woodruff

Former Utah sheriff’s deputy arrested in child sex abuse case

A former San Juan County sheriff’s deputy has been arrested on suspicion of child sex abuse.

1 hour ago

FILE - President Joe Biden participates in a briefing in the Oval Office of the White House, Dec. 2...

Mary Culbertson and Mark Jones

Utah leadership reacts to Biden’s decision to drop out of the 2024 presidential race

Following President Biden's announcement that he would stop his reelection campaign, leaders in Salt Lake City offered their thoughts.

3 hours ago

FILE -The Lucin Cutoff is seen in a flight over the Great Salt Lake on April 9, 2024. (Scott G Wint...

Mary Culbertson

Plane goes down in field near Great Salt Lake

A plane went down in a Weber County field. Authorities said there were no injuries.

3 hours ago

A man and young girl were injured following a motorcycle accident on Tuesday....

Mary Culbertson

One dead after semitruck, RV collided on I-70 in Grand County

One person is dead after a semitruck and an RV collided on I-70 near the Colorado border.

3 hours ago

West Valley City firefighters on the parking lot of the strip mall....

Mary Culbertson

33 Utah firefighters to deploy in Oregon through emergency compact law

Thirty-three firefighters are being deployed to Oregon through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

4 hours ago

Adre Seldon Jr. is pictured in his gear ahead of the Utah State University 2024 football season. (U...

Mary Culbertson

USU mourning loss of student-athlete whose body was found in Porcupine Reservoir

The body of a football player at Utah State University was found after he had been diving at a reservoir and didn't resurface.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Tooele community supporting family of teen who drowned in reservoir