ROUND LAKE, N.Y. – It was a two-hour wait at Corpus Christi in Round Lake Friday evening, to pay respects to 17-year-old Christopher Stewart.
Green and blue ribbons symbolizing “Shen and Shaker United” were on cars in the parking lot, as well as Stewart and Deanna Rivers' sports numbers.
The signs of support were abundant, spreading beyond Clifton Park.
Leeann Innace of Glens Falls drove to Round Lake for the calling hours even though she does not know the Stewart family.
“We're so sorry for their families and their loss,” she says. “My heart goes out to them. I have kids myself, and it's hard. It's touched everybody.”
Students from surrounding schools in the Capital Region also showed support on Friday. Adam Hoffman and Matt Christian, two seniors from LaSalle Institute in Troy say they were compelled to come.
“It's tough, because I haven't experienced something like this before, so it's a reality check that it can happen,” says Hoffman. “I feel awful. It's really sad.”
“Everyone is coming together to show their support,” adds Christian.
“He's one of those kids you'd be around and it could be one of the worst days of your life, but he'd get a smile out of you, no matter what it took,” says Alex Derusso.
Derusso is a 2012 Shenendehowa graduate and played football with Chris Stewart for two years. Derusso says there isn't a bad thing anyone could ever say about Stewart, the news of his death a huge shock. Derusso was away at Utica College when it happened.
“It was a tough night,” he says.
But Derusso and others News 10 spoke to outside the wake say what has made this tragedy a little easier is the support from the community and beyond.
“I am just blown away, I feel like his life has, and will touch people for a long time,” says Deborah Zawtocki, a friend of the family. “I cannot imagine the heartbreak and I think it's particularly overwhelming in the sense that the family has had to greet so many people. But God bless them, they are trudging through this. They are wonderful people, all of those people are wonderful people.”
“Everyone says they're in a better place now and they'll always be with us,” adds Derusso. “You have to think of it that way.”
A memorial Mass will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m at Corpus Christi for Stewart.