Friends and family gathered Wednesday evening to remember Keion Carpenter, the late NFL star and graduate of Woodlawn High School.
TJ Smith is usually known for his job as a spokesman for the Baltimore Police, while keeping his poise in even the stickiest of situations. When speaking about fellow Woodlawn graduate and close friend Keion Carpenter, the emotion was clear.
"His memory is only going to be in vein if we allow it to be," Smith said, addressing a crowd of close to 100 people. "Keion was an undrafted free agent in the NFL, but God had a draft pick, and he selected him to play on his team."
Carpenter went on the play at Virginia Tech before a six-year stint in the NFL. Later he came back to Baltimore and started the Carpenter House and the Shutdown Academy as a way to use sports and non-profits to foster relationships with youth.
Helping more than 3,000 families, he became known as 'Coach Carp.'
Carpenter died suddenly last month in Florida after collapsing.
A friend of Carpenter's, Jerel Wilson, said he wanted people to remember his friends legacy.
"Basically the legacy that he had, what he was doing, where we were going, and how he impacted so many people," Wilson said.
Wearing his NFL and high school jersey's, those who knew him best gathered at his alma mater for a candle light vigil.
Carpenter's former colleagues spoke to a grief counselor about how to speak to the children he worked with. Many of them came to know Carpenter like a father.
People who worked with Carpenter's non-profits said they vow to keep his traditions going and continue to work with the children of Baltimore.