Hundreds attend vigil for West Point cadet from Festus

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FESTUS, MO (KTVI) - A candlelight vigil Friday night in Jefferson County for 18-year-old Tom Surdyke. Hundreds turned out to remember this young man at St. Pius the X High School in Festus.

Surdyke was the West Point cadet who drowned this week while coming to the rescue of another man. It happened while he was on vacation in South Hampton, New York.

Hundreds of people gathered on the football field at the tenth high school. Father Edward Nemeth said as soon as he heard the news, Surdyke's classmates contacted him and said we need to make this happen. The Boy Scouts and Festus Fire and Rescue were on hand as part of the memorial.

"Tommy was kind of one of those all American kids. He was as good as all the stories that everyone is telling about him. Tommy is one that was extremely dedicated. He had a great sense of loyalty and dedication, whether that was to his football team, to his school, to his family, and especially to his friends." said Father Edward Nemeth.

Tommy Surdyke, as his friends called him, would have turned 19 July 4th. That is the day his parents have chosen for his burial at West Point.