Candlelight vigil held for Socastee High School teen who drowned

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Family and friends gathered at the Surfside Beach pier Friday night to remember a young teenager who drowned Monday.

Socastee High School student, Aidan Keahi Mendoza, 17, of Surfside Beach, died the morning of Dec. 26 while surfing.

Mendoza was a Senior at Socastee High School where he ran track and cross country.  He had a cross country scholarship to run next year at Anderson University.

Friends and family shared fond memories of Keahi before lighting their candles.  One of the attendees, Kelley French, spoke about the kind of person he was.

“He had a huge heart for people he knew and for people he didn’t know. He helped anybody who needed emotional help or physical help,” she said.

French also shared a memory of how Keahi helped her through a difficult time.

“I know Keahi by helping with the man show that we have every year. It’s a fundraiser scholarship for our daughter who passed 8 years ago in the same month. He would come up to me wanting to help any way that he could.  He didn’t know her but he wanted to help. He did it the last two years and he came up to me this year and said how he was going to help.  So that was the kind of person he was,” she added.

Horry Country Coroner Robert Edge says Mendoza died from an accidental drowning.

The candlelight vigil was held at 7:00 p.m., Friday at the Surfside Beach Pier.  Hundreds of family members and friends attended.