IOWA PARK, TX (KAUZ) - A life jacket station dedicated to a seven-year-old boy, who passed away a month ago after nearly drowning at Lake Iowa Park, was put up on Saturday morning. The life jacket station shaped like a cross is just footsteps away from where the incident happened.
It was an emotional scene as tears were shed by family and friends of Michael Ondricek while putting up his memorial.
Family and friends said it is a cross to honor Michael's life and save another.
"Anytime you have to bury a child it's hard, especially for the parent," Ray Sluder Rider Director American Legion Post 202 said.
Richard Ondricek, Michael's father, said he remembers his son swimming without a life jacket near the boat ramp at Lake Iowa Park.
"I was at the deep end with all the other [children] that were swimming watching them," Richard said. "He was up here [near the boat ramp]. He should've been safe [that's] what I thought."
When Richard realized his son was in danger, he said it was too late.
"I was at the end of the ramp and by the time I got to this end of it, my son was gone," Richard said.
"[Michael] was respectful but he was 'Hellion,' he was. He liked to have fun."
As Richard held one of his loved ones tight, he said he hoped no other parent has to see their child drown.
"Life Jackets, more life jackets. In the end that's all that it boiled down to."
The life jackets on the cross are available for anyone, anytime, they need it. Richard said Michael would have loved seeing how his family and friends honored him.
"He would've have been a lot better person than I would've been."
Two more life jacket stations, in the shape of a cross, will be placed at the lake. The family and friends said they will continue to add newer life jackets in case some go missing or become damaged.
If you want to help remember Michael, you can drop off a life jacket at the cross.