Local families remember loved ones lost to drowning - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Local families remember loved ones lost to drowning

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"What takes some of the pain away, is knowing he would [save someone] again."

Matt Hattaway was vacationing with his fiance and her family near Fort Morgan, AL, when deceptively dangerous rip currents pulled him under.

His family says he died doing what he never hesitated to do in life - help others.

"If there was a hand needed, he was going to be the one giving the hand. You could depend on him," says Jacob Hattaway, Matt's younger brother.

A Southwood High School and ULM graduate, Matt was planning a big wedding and building his career under his uncle's direction.

"He was so smart and diligent about learning and just being a good man. He made me so proud," says Steve Nichols, Matt's uncle and employer.

And while the Hattaway family is still reeling from the fresh pain of Matt's death, Maude Warner is learning three years later that the pain of losing a child never fully goes away.

"Maybe if the outside people knew how to swim, it could have been a better outcome," Warner says.

It was the worst water fatality in Shreveport's history.

Six teenagers, including three of Warner's own children, drowned in the Red River while trying to save a family member in August of 2010.

"There wasn't anything anybody could do, but they were able to save my nephew and we thank God for that."

Through Project Swim, created as a result of that tragedy, the city of Shreveport is working to make sure something like that never happens again.

"We feel the hope that we're really gonna be able to teach the extended family because Maude has gotten more hopeful, Maude has gotten more confident, Maude is moving in that direction," says Shelley McMillian, with Rock Solid Sports.

And as the Hattaways begin the long healing process, they know Matt will live on through the lives he's touched.

"He didn't have to say much, but when he smiled it was a beautiful, beautiful thing."

Funeral arrangements for Matt Hattaway have been set. Visitation will be Thursday, June 13th, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Brookwood Baptist Church in Shreveport.

The funeral will follow on Friday, June 14th at 10 am, also at Brookwood.

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