Hazel Green family holds emotional candlelight vigil for Julian Jones

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HAZEL GREEN, Ala. (WHNT) - There is a 6-feet-6-inches void in Hazel Green.

Sixteen-year-old Julian Jones was a beloved member of the community. Trojan Nation gathered Tuesday night at Bob Grimwood Stadium for a candlelight vigil to say goodbye to their gentle giant.

As hundreds of loved ones circled the field, candles flickered as a poignant memorial of his brief, but touching life.

Through heartache and sorrow, teammates and friends spoke of Julian's work ethic, competitive spirit and contagious grin.

"He was somebody that made everybody around him better and I don't think I ever saw him not smile," said team chaplain Josh Duncan.

They spoke of Julian's love of football and love of Hazel Green.

"I loved him like a brother and always will," said Hazel Green quarterback Cole Guffey, as he addressed the crowd.

Some reflected on Julian's life in stoic silence, while for others, the emotions are still too raw.

Beyond the football, the Hazel Green family came together to praise Julian as the epitome of what a young man should be.

"Tonight is not about us mourning, tonight is about us rejoicing and celebrating the life of Julian and celebrating the fact that we got the privilege to know him," Duncan said to the crowd.

Since his passing, prayers and condolences have been pouring in from all over the nation for this community of 12,000, as its members continue to grapple with the loss of a life too young.

"Remember Julian as he would want you to remember him," said Duncan. "Remember the things about him that were great. The things that make you great because he was around you, that's what this needs to be."

Hazel Green wide receiver Garrett Citrano also shared a poem that he wrote in honor of his teammate:

Six-six, 240, such a kind, pure heart,

Two of the qualities that set you apart.

Your dominating play, but caring style;

You light up the room with that infectious smile

Gone too soon, part of God's plan;

Unanswered questions we don't understand.

A great son and brother, teammate and friend,

Our Trojan warrior, we got you man.

Not a day shall pass, where you won't cross our minds;

Your contagious laughter was one of a kind.

We love you, Julian, our number 11.

A touchdown was scored, when you went to heaven.

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If you, or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please reach out to Crisis Services of North Alabama at 1-800-691-8426.

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