BENTON COUNTY, Iowa — One Benton County family knows that the joys of summer can quickly turn into pain.
Sean and Tina Vogt’s son, Brandon, drowned in the Atkins pond last August. He was 13-years-old at the time of the accident.
June 16 marked what would have been his 14th birthday. The Vogt family went to the pond and released some balloons with friends. They also spent time reminiscing about the good times and even had some cake.
The family, however, said they still struggle every day.
They enjoy talking about him, and laugh about the good times.
Brandon’s Mother, Tina Vogt, said she especially remembers one thing.
“His smile. I mean, he had the most amazing smile,” Tina Vogt said.
“A little mischievous,” Brandon’s Father, Sean Vogt added.
“It was always a smile like you never knew if he was up to something,” Tina Vogt said.
Brandon had big dreams, which included playing in the NFL or joining the military.
“He was game to do anything, you know, with anybody,” said Brandon’s Mother, Tina Vogt.
In the meantime, the teenager spent as much time as possible outdoors.
“He absolutely loved to fish and play in the water and loved to go hunting,” Sean Vogt said.
That came to a halt last August when Brandon’s parents said he was jumping into the pond from a raft.
“When he came up, he didn’t have anything to grab onto, and I guess he wasn’t expecting that, and he wasn’t the best of swimmer anyway … and came up one more time and then that was it,” Tina Vogt said.
“It is just simply a numb feeling, and I can’t really explain it any more than that. That feeling really doesn’t go away for probably a couple months, at least. But slowly, slowly you get up and go to work and try and continue the best you can,” Sean Vogt said.
The family said they visit the pond many times a week. While they know the water only holds the end of their son’s story, they hope this is just the beginning of the ways people continue to remember Brandon.
They also shared a message as they continue to cope with their loss.
“I just hope that people understand that bad things happen to good people and we want you to know that water, I mean, anything that you do outdoors can be dangerous. Anything can be dangerous. You just have to pay attention to what you are doing and watch out for each other and don’t take things for granted,” Tina Vogt said.
Sean added that he doesn’t want kids to be afraid to go out an swim. He just said, if it doesn’t feel right don’t do it.
As they continue to cope with Brandon’s death, the Vogt family said they were especially thankful for all of the community support.
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