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Officials say a teenager drowned while swimming in Harlan County.
"We decided we was gonna go to the lake and meet up with some friends," said James Phillips.
19-year-old McKinley Dunson drowned in Martin's Fork Lake on Thursday.
"I did everything I could to try and save him. I just couldn't get to him in time," Phillips said.
A 2010 graduate of Harlan County High School, teachers and coaches say the football player and EKU freshman had a bright future ahead.
"Was a good student, worked hard and a strong athlete. He was just a great kid an asset to our community," said Cumberland Elementary Principal Sheila Hall.
"We lost somebody that was not only great for our area, but his life was too short and we didn't get to enjoy him," said Cumberland Elementary Teacher and Coach Wes Bailey.
They describe him as loyal, polite, and driven both off and on the field. Those who knew him want to remember him not by how he died, but how he lived.
Arrangements are still pending at Tri-City Funeral Home in Benham.