Lena community remembers one of its own at visitation

Published: Aug. 4, 2019 at 3:30 PM CDT
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Family, friends and strangers lined up at Lena-Winslow High School on Sunday night for Colton Drye's visitation.

"It's one thing for the family that loses a person to grieve," said Drye's cousin Jenny Keltner. "But when the entire community is grieving that really is a testament to the type of person that he was."

Drye died Monday near Walcott, Iowa, when his vehicle rear-ended a stopped semi-truck tractor. The 22-year-old was an active U.S Airman, serving as a Special Operation TACP in Fort Hood, Texas.

"He is so loved," said Keltner. "And even though the time we had with him was so short, our lives are all better for it."

Friends and family describe him as a fun-loving person, whose smile could light up a room.

"Oh that smile! That smile with a little smirk of just a tad bit of evil behind it," joked close family-friend Tracy Hass. "He was gregarious, beautiful, everything was heartfelt. There wasn't a person that Colton wouldn't take under his wing."

Drye graduated from Lena-Winslow High School in 2015. He was a safety on the Panthers football team, and helped win a state championship.

"He gave 110 percent to everything that he did," said Hass. "He loved with everything inside of him, and he was the best dressed man you would've met."

Drye was an organ donor, and his family members wore green wristbands at the visitation to show support for organ donation.

"He was just the best," said Keltner. "Unashamed of being exactly who he was."