An emotional goodbye: Teen sobs over loss of friend, Mason graduate Ethan Roser

Posted at 11:35 PM, Apr 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-24 05:57:19-04

MASON, Ohio -- Matt Brenneman remembers the last time he saw Ethan Roser.

Brenneman, a Mason High School senior, met up with Roser a month ago at Westshore Pizza in Mason.

“When he went off to college I didn’t see him that often, so we were excited to see each other again,” Brenneman said.

He never thought that meeting would be their last.

Roser, a Mason graduate and freshman at Wheaton College, was killed Saturday afternoon while he was volunteering at a track and field competition outside Chicago. He was 19 years old.

At about 4:15 p.m., a hammer accidentally hit him during a hammer throw event. The "hammer" in hammer throw is a metal ball -- 16 pounds for men, 8.8 pounds for women -- attached to a grip by a steel wire. Competitors spin around several times before releasing, or "throwing," it.

Brenneman met Roser through Mason Young Life, where Roser worked to teach the community about Jesus Christ.

“I can’t believe this happened because he was such a good guy,” Brenneman said.

Members of Mason Young Life prayed and remembered Roser’s life Sunday evening. Hundreds of miles away in Chicago, Roser’s teachers and peers held a prayer service in his honor.

Wheaton College Chaplain Rev. Timothy Blackmon leads a prayer vigil in Roser's honor Sunday evening in the college's Pierce Chapel. Roser was killed in a track and field accident Saturday afternoon in Chicago. Photo provided by Wheaton College.

Brenneman said Roser was the “wisest person” he knew. Roser was studying theology at Wheaton College, and he wanted to become a pastor someday.

“It’s so comforting to know that he’s with Jesus right now celebrating,” Brenneman said.