Candlelight vigil to be held for Etowah sailor lost overboard

·3 min read
U.S. Navy Seaman Recruit David "Dee" Spearman.
U.S. Navy Seaman Recruit David "Dee" Spearman.

A candlelight vigil is being held for the United States sailor from Etowah who went overboard from the destroyer USS Arleigh Burke on Aug. 1 in the Baltic Sea.

The vigil is being held 8 p.m. on Aug. 19 at Karolina Kremes in Etowah. Nineteen-year-old Seaman Recruit David "Dee" Spearman was confirmed dead by the Navy on Aug. 4. An investigation into how Spearman went overboard has not been completed, and his body has not been recovered, according to previous Times-News reporting.

"The family is newer here. They've only been here since the fall," Dana Galloway, vigil organizer, said. "They don't know our community. They don't know that people come together, and this is the time where people can come together. There's no agenda. It's just love, support and prayer."

Previous reporting: Navy confirms Etowah sailor dies after going overboard in the Baltic Sea

Karolina Kremes, located at 96 Etowah Center Dr., is owned by Spearman's parents, Galloway said. They took some time off after finding out about Spearman but are planning to go back to work in the coming days. Spearman's family did not wish to comment directly at this time, but Spearman's mother, Nikki McKeithan Spearman, did provide a statement through Galloway.

This flyer was made by Dana Galloway for the vigil for Aug. 19.
This flyer was made by Dana Galloway for the vigil for Aug. 19.

"We are still waiting on the investigation report, and we are still hoping and praying that he will be found. Please pray that a fisherman or boater will find him and bring him home," she said.

Galloway said that the family's faith is helping them to get through the tragedy.

"They love Jesus, and that is what they are holding on to now, their faith," she said. "They're just absolutely amazing people. They have massive hearts."

At the vigil, many "sea sisters," or mothers of Navy sailors from around Henderson County, will be in attendance, Galloway said. She also invited the Patriot Guard Riders, but at time of reporting she has yet to hear back from them.

Galloway has a son in the Navy, too, and she said her biggest fear is for him to go overboard like Spearman. Since the Spearmans were new to town, she said she did not know them despite knowing most other people in Henderson County whose children joined the military recently, so she went on a search to find them. Now, she talks to Nikki Spearman daily.

"A friend of mine posted that it was a friend of theirs, and I immediately was like, 'I have to reach out. I have to help. I have to do something for this lady,'" she said. "I can't imagine being in her shoes. I don't want to even imagine that."

After seeing Spearman's mother post for two weeks on Facebook about her son, Galloway asked if she could organize the vigil, and she agreed.

"I said, I feel like this is my way of being able to give back," Galloway said. "My child is giving for our country, and your child did, too. So I would hope that if the shoes were reversed that you would be there for me, too."

Everyone attending the vigil is asked to wear red to "remember everyone deployed until they all come home."

This article originally appeared on Hendersonville Times-News: Etowah sailor lost overboard gets candlelight vigil