North Texas

Former Keller Athlete Who Died in Swimming Accident to be Honored

Family and friends are mourning a former Keller high school athlete who died in a mid-May swimming accident.

Chase Dennis graduated from Timber Creek High School and was in Kansas, where he attended Coffeyville Community College, when he drowned while celebrating his acceptance of a full athletic scholarship.

Now, Chase's family and his old high school are working to ensure that his legacy lives on. His parents, Beverly and Kristaufur Dennis, will finalize arrangements this week for the Chase Dennis Dream Foundation.

According to the family, the foundation will award a scholarship to a student-athlete who has a learning ability like dyslexia, or is in junior college, just like Chase.

Ultimately, the foundation will mentor youth, Kristaufur Dennis said.

"I lost a piece of me and I just feel this is going to be a piece of my son that I can hold onto," he said.

Meanwhile, Lonnie Judd of Timber Creek High School, who coached Chase in track and field from seventh grade through graduation, created the Chase Dennis Heart Award to be presented to an athlete who exhibits a love of track and field and a love of life, as Chase did.

Judd said he is working to collect money for a scholarship fund too.

The plan is to award a scholarship of about $1,000, in Chase Dennis' name beginning next spring.

"I just wanted his name to live on," Judd said. "I wanted somebody 30 years from now, I'll be dead and gone, and they'll say, 'Who was Chase Dennis?' And somebody will be able to say who he was."

Chase was at a lake celebrating graduation from Coffeyville Community College and his acceptance of a scholarship to Northwestern State University when he drowned.

Authorities said it appeared the 20-year-old cramped up in the cold water and a friend tried to save him.

"Instead of letting them both drown, he let her go," Beverly Dennis said. "He let her go. And that speaks volumes on the character of who Chase really is. Anything he can do for people he’ll do it.

"His legacy will continue and that’s why I don’t feel like his life is over. It's not over," she said.

Chase will continue to touch many lives, and that is a legacy his heartbroken parents said they can live with.

"I know he would say he's proud," his father said with a smile.

"I think in Chase's words: Well alright parents, because that's what he called us," she added with a smile. "'Alright parents, I see you parents.' That would be Chase."

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