DENVER - Reid Gates was a star in Cedaredge, a town of a couple thousand found about an hour's drive south and east of Grand Junction. So when the town's residents found out that the 17-year-old had lost his life after suffering acute carbon monoxide poisoning, they started reaching out to the teen's family en masse.
"There's a reason why we chose to live [in Cedaredge]," said the boy's father Ken Gates during an interview inside Denver's Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center.
By this weekend, Ken Gates expects to be back in Cedaredge and take part in a memorial service. It all comes at a time when two other teens from Cedaredge remain hospitalized with symptoms related to carbon monoxide poisoning. Aaron Henrie, 17, was in critical condition, and Tyler Cooper, 15, was in good condition as of Tuesday afternoon.
All three were rushed to Denver on Sunday after being discovered "lifeless" inside a camper parked inside a shed just outside of Cedaredge. The families believe the three, while staying in the camper overnight, turned on a generator to fire up a television in order to watch a movie. The windows of the shed were open, but somehow enough of the colorless and odorless gas made its way into the camper.
Henrie's parents said the boy "is still fighting."
It's part of the reason why Gates' parents are still in Denver. They know Tyler's family very well.
"The most difficult stage is the limbo stage. And right now, for the Henrie family to be in limbo, that's the hardest thing," Ken Gates said.
Reid Gates was a gifted running back on Cedaredge's 1A high school football championship team last fall. In the spring, he won the 3A track and field high jump. His parents say he kept a 4.0 while taking college classes. He even seriously considered following his parent's footsteps by applying to go to the Air Force Academy next year.
"We never pushed him in that direction, but we always made sure the door was open and available to him. It brought me great joy when he on his own accord decided he wanted to apply," Ken Gates said.
"He was right on path and he saw how things were progressing, and it was right where he wanted to be," said his mother Cheryl Gates.
Ken and Cheryl agreed to donate Reid's organs on Tuesday morning.
"We're not the parents who lost Reid, our son, we're the parents who got to spend 17 years with him," Ken said.
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