On July 24, floodwaters poured into Cottonwood, severing the life of 16-year-old Faith Moore.
While in her car, Moore called emergency responders for help after floodwaters stranded her car in a low wash area. Officials said the waters rose to over 8 feet in height within an hour and swept Moore and his car downstream.
Four days later, she was found lifeless after the community of Camp Verde and Cottonwood came together to conduct a widespread search near the River Verde.
Moore’s family and friends gathered on Sunday to celebrate a service in his memory at the Verde Community Church, which also streamed the service online.
Moore’s family didn’t speak, but as coaches and friends spoke, they painted a portrait of a dedicated athlete and a big-hearted teenager.
Danya Weir, coach with local Moore Rampage Softball Club, explained how Moore is looking forward to playing softball.
Moore rose through the ranks on the team, eventually becoming a star pitcher, where she led the team to a championship game, Weir said.
As well as being a great player, she was “generous,” Weir said.
“She believed in her teammates,” she said, “and she made you feel very welcome.”
Mingus High School softball coach John Brown held back tears as he stepped onto the podium.
He explained that although Moore was one of his players, he also considered her a friend.
As a coach he works to inspire his athletes, but one of Moore’s posts inspired him, he said.
She would ask how she could help and, in a post, vowed to do her best to get their team to a championship out of respect she felt for Moore and his hard work, he said.
“’From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything you do,’ he said as he read her message to her. “I really like everything you do for me and for the other girls. Hope you have a great night, thank you for all you really do.
Family friend Mary Phelps said Moore had become like a girl to her.
“She wanted to be loved and to give love and she did that to our family,” said Phelps.
Perhaps the most significant form of this love came when the community came together despite recent hardships, she said.
The sense of community in the room was reflected by the more than 330 people who logged in to view the service via the live broadcast.
To conclude the service, Pastor Jeremy Peters spoke of healing keeping Moore’s memory alive. He commented on the hashtag used in Moore’s research, “#findfaith”, and suggested that the day may represent an opportunity for the community to “find hope” now.
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