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Shane Jones Memorial Gospel Sing draws hundreds

Several friends and family and even perfect strangers gathered to celebrate Shane Jones's 14th birthday Saturday night.

Even though Shane wasn't there in person, those attending believed he was there in spirit.

"I'm glad to do anything to help him," his best friend Matthew Jones, 14, said. "He's probably here right now, laughing."

The Ironton High School auditorium was filled with spectators for the Shane Jones Memorial Gospel sing, which was sponsored by Gear Up, the Ironton Junior High School Kids Care Club and the gospel quartet Crucified with Christ. All proceeds from admissions and concessions went to Shane's family, which has set up a scholarship fund in his name.

"It's been hard, and today is the hardest day," Patty Jones, Shane's mother, said. "But, all of his friends are here together tonight."

This time last year, she said Shane and his friends were rehearsing for a Christmas play, and Shane did his famous "fishy face."

"He didn't have much musical talent, but he did that and was pointing at people laughing," she said. "He did crazy stuff like that. That's why I put up this poster of Shane and his friends doing crazy stuff. He would want people laughing instead of crying."

"The kids are great for just being his friends," Shawn Jones, Shane's father, said. "They've helped us cope with what's went on."

The Joneses said their house is still full of kids as it always has been.

The entertainment for the evening included Crucified with Christ, Sweet Sounds of Sugar Creek, Day 3 (formerly "By Grace"), as well as several other groups and soloists.

"I can tell that Shane was a loved person, who always had a smile," Phil Carpenter, bass singer for Sweet Sounds of Sugar Creek said. "These people are hurting because they've lost a child so young. The whole area grieved for him."

IJHS teachers Lee Anne Stumbo and Erin Sowards, along with Kids Care Club sponsor and IJHS guidance counselor Missy Fields sang a Capella in a trio.

"Shane was a student of mine last year, and anything we can do in his memory is important," Stumbo said. "He was a wonderful young man in all respects."

IJHS principal Jerry Watson said the job the students had done made him proud to be their principal and called Fields a "tremendous asset" to his staff.

"All of them here are busy with something to do," he said. "This is a positive way to remember Shane."

Besides food, the students were also selling Christmas ornaments with "In Memory of #45" on them. The ornaments were Matthew Jones's brainchild.

"I'm struggling, but it's okay because Shane's in a better place," he said. "If he were here, it would be just a normal day with us hanging out on his birthday."