Family remembers Lake Bluff man who died after being submerged in Alaskan mudflats – NBC Chicago
A 20-year-old man from Lake Bluff was killed on Sunday when Alaska state troopers said he became trapped on the Turnagain Arm mudflats near the town of Hope, about 90 miles south of Anchorage.
Zachary Porter was submerged on mudflats after a tidal wave came in, with first responders unable to rescue him after a member of his party called 911.
Porter’s body was found the next morning.
“Losing a child is something no one should go through,” Porter’s mother, Susan Rider, told NBC Chicago.
“He was on his way to becoming this incredible adult. Part of what allowed him to do that was having a variety of experiences in a community that loved him,” she continued.
Porter was on a trip with several college friends. His family says the University of Washington sophomore was athletic and adventurous.
“They were just going to have a little adventure before their summer activities started,” Zachary’s father, Todd Porter, told NBC Chicago.
Porter played baseball at Lake Forest High School, where his former coach fondly remembers his senior season.
“As the season went on, he became our ace on the mound,” said varsity baseball coach Ray Del Fava.
“[A] quiet leader,” he said. “At the end of the season, he was in the foreground. [He] earned the respect of his teammates and coaches through his hard work and personality,” Del Fava told NBC Chicago.
Del Fava says Porter had just visited the team last week to watch a game.
“One of my biggest regrets, he came to a game last week. I only had the chance to wave to him, I didn’t have the chance to talk to him.”
Porter was also an avid sailor. He spent his summers teaching children to navigate the Lake Bluff Park District.
“Laid-back, easy-going. A kid who was really able to connect with the kids in the program, made them fun, and took the chores seriously,” said Park District Executive Director John Bealer.
Porter’s mother told NBC Chicago that sailing was her dream job.
The family is holding a private remembrance ceremony on Lake Bluff Beach on Sunday. They are also starting the Zachary Porter Foundation in his honor to help underserved children experience nature.
“Everyone should try to be more caring, compassionate and caring. It would be a better world. That’s what he was trying to achieve,” Porter’s mother said.