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Gabriel "Boone" Cummins
Boone is my heart. He was so fun loving, and he was wonderful with family and with his many friends. Usually upbeat, he had " shoe game", and that was the only thing he cared about as far as clothes. He loved to skateboard, and became pretty good at it, starting at a young age. He pretty much detested other sports though- He LOVED dirt biking, 4 wheeling, mudding in his old Chevy jacked up truck that he saved for years to get. He didn't see boundaries in people, meaning he never judged anyone that I know of, as long as they were remotely nice to him and those he cared most about. Boone never loved school, but he tested well, so he got by easily until later high school, when he stopped trying at all, or attention issues got the best of him- I think it was both.
Boone starting smoking weed occasionally when he was 16, I think. His senior year he started trying pills at school, every once in a while from what we have heard, a dealer we met after he died said he didn't touch oxys or roxys, heroin, etc- he told her "that stuff can kill you".... He was working, going to school, and being part of our family, so we were assuming it was still just weed on occasion- we didn't like it, but he never did anything around us, and we didn't smell it on him, and he continued being a great son to us, so we chalked it up to teen behavior and he would outgrow it.
He started partying around the end of march 2017. His closest friend died tragically- left by some other kids at a rock quarry ledge- where he fell in and drowned. Boone blamed himself for not being there and for a couple of weeks he completely stopped partying all together- his grief counselor told us at his age, it would get worse again, and quickly- that an 18 year old would not have that grand wake up call we needed and wanted him to have. She was right- 5 weeks after Sean died, Boone started doing more Xanax- a benzo drug that is extremely addictive although this country uses it like aspirin to fix any stress it seems. Boone went in one week from a kid who we are told was taking 1-3 Xanax a day to someone who was needing upper of 15 .25 mg bars a day. He was arrested the fourth day of this binge- the 17th of July, and we talked him into starting rehab-and told him it was the only way his charges would be dropped- which is what our lawyer told us. He was set to check into a facility the 19th. On the 18th, he left our house, saying he was just going to the rope swing with some friends- a common activity where we live in the country by a great river for camping and swimming. He was supposed to be back home before dark. He called and said he was staying out at a friends place, and that since he was 18, he knew we couldn't force him to rehab, but he would go if we would let him have this last night of hanging with some buddies. We knew where he was, and we were clueless about the amount of pills he had been taking at that point, so we said okay, and that we would get him in the AM to go.
That night he got a ride to a dealer, bought 30 pills, took them all- posted it on his social media and asked tons of kids to meet him out at the same quarry where his friend had died. For the most part, the kids said no way, and for him to stay in, but he found two kids willing to party with him at 3AM. Once they gave him the ride to the quarry, they decided it was a bad idea for them, and they left him there alone- knowing how many pills he had taken. He was a constant video guy so he taped them together and it was obvious he was under the influence big time. He continued to call out to others to ask them to come party with him, to celebrate his friend that had died there, before he went into rehab the next day. Once he realized no one was coming, he started calling, texting and snapchatting, asking kids for rides out, saying again he had taken 30 bars and to please come "scoop him" meaning to pick him up. At this time it was almost 4 AM, and kids were either asleep, or unable, or unwilling to come. His last snap out was around 5:15 and at that time it was just random letters. His last film out was around 4:30 and he is no longer able to stand, and is leaning against the spot where his friend was left. The next day we finally tracked down who he was with and they lied about where they took him, so it took hours to figure out where he was. When we finally did check there, his things were there but he was not. It took 5 days to find him, because the quarry is more than 100 feet deep, and murky and cold, so nothing rises. The kids involved were his friends- not just strangers. They cared about him, and we know that. They didn't want to get him in trouble for taking the pills, and also didn't want to get themselves in trouble for leaving him there alone, so they lied. They never imagined he would drown. The 20 or so kids that he was snapchatting to on a group chat felt the same- they knew he was out of control, but didn't want to be the one to say so- and because of their lack of knowledge about a state law called the Good Samaritan 911 law, he died, just like his close friend Sean.
The two boys each have a teenage sister- Bridget Odonnell and Elly Cummins. They have made it their mission, along with our families, to make sure every middle schooler and high schooler in the state know about this law- and how it could save lives. They are going around to local high schools, church groups, community meetings, etc- to show their program on this to spread the word. They have met with our Attorney General, and we will be meeting with legislative members in the weeks to come. This information needs to be EVERYWHERE- it's different state to state, but the point is if someone calls to help a friend in need, neither the person calling or the person you are calling on will get prosecuted for whatever you have on you- drugs, underage drinking, etc- four of the kids who got that call/text/ snap from Boone where he begged for a ride away, have told us they would have called if they knew it wouldn't get Boone in trouble, or themselves. The same goes for the kids who left Sean.
This past weekend, less than 6 months from the day we lost him, a person was saved in our little county because of our boys, and our girls now campaigning to make this a better known law. Someone who saw one of their talks was with a group of kids where one OD'ed- and while almost everyone in the group wanted not to call, because they didn't want to get in trouble- one kid had seen this presentation and made the call. It saved a life we are told. Nothing brings back our son, but being able to keep another family from going through what we all have means something so powerful. Thank you for letting me share this- and what Shatterproof has done is incredible- we hope to get the lifeskills section included in our county schools, one day at a time. if you have any interest in learning more about the girls' campaign- go to BeKindLeavenoonebehind on Facebook or Instagram.
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