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Celebration of Life Service Announced for former CFCA player

By Staff , 04/17/17, 1:30PM EDT




"We as a family appreciate the National Park Services efforts in the search. The search consists of community outreach and routine back country patrols at this time. We pray they find something to help us gain closure, we remain hopeful. We would like to thank the National Park Service for their diligent search efforts.

All family members are back in Chattanooga, TN or Vernal, Ut respectively. LouAnn Merrell's services are this evening Sunday April 23 in Vernal Utah. 

A celebration of life for Jackson Standefer will be held at the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. On Wednesday April 26th at 7:00 pm. in the main chapel. 

We have been amazed at the tremendous outpouring of love from our community. It truly helps at this the most difficult of times."

Previous Story

The thoughts and prayers of the entire CFC Academy are with the family of 14-year-old Jackson Standefer. He is missing in Grand Canyon National Park. Jackson played for our 2003 Elite team last season. He is currently an 8th grade student at McCallie School and attended Bright School before then.

According to a spokesperson from McCallie, "Jackson and his step-grandmother were swept downstream while attempting to cross a river Saturday afternoon. Rescue efforts began quickly and are ongoing. The family remains hopeful that rescuers will find Jackson and his step-grandmother and return them safely to their families."

"We are praying for Jackson's family during this time. The local soccer community is a close-knit family and we're here for each other." - Matt Yelton, CFC Academy Executive Director 

Jackson played for CFC Academy coach Mike Larson, who is also sharing his concern and support for Jackson's safe return.

"Jackson always showed great enthusiasm and effort during practice sessions and games.  He has a wonderful personality and always arrived and left the field with a huge smile.  My thoughts and prayers go out to his family." - Mike Larson, Jackson's former CFC Academy coach 

Family Updates

Thursday Morning

"Wednesday evening, the National Park Service announced that they were calling off the search for Jackson Standefer and LouAnn Merrell, who have been missing in the Grand Canyon since Saturday evening. The families would like to thank everyone for their tremendous outpouring of love, prayers and support throughout this tragic ordeal. Please respect both families' need for privacy as they come to process and seek God's comfort during this difficult time. We believe families are forever and we will be reunited with our loved ones."

Wednesday Morning

Family Statement: "We would like to thank everyone from around the world who have offered their encouragement, support and prayers during this difficult time as we continue to search for Jackson Standefer and LouAnn Merrell. The National Park Service has been working around the clock on rescue efforts since the beginning of this ordeal, and the Standefer and Merrell families are grateful for their tireless dedication, hard work and support. In an effort to bolster the existing search efforts, the Merrell shoe brand has been working over the past few hours to help provide climbers and rescuers to continue this effort. In addition, the Standefer family is flying in Skytec with a Sky Ranger military grade drone with extra capabilities to aid in the search. We remain hopeful that these efforts will help find Jackson Standefer and LouAnn Merrell very soon. Thank you as always for respecting the family's for privacy as we work through this difficult time, and your continued love, prayer and support are greatly appreciated."

Tuesday Night

The search continues for Jackson and LouAnn. Many helicopters and airplanes are in the area along with crews on the ground. This is all we know at this time.

Monday Night

The drones are currently in the steepest part of the canyon. This part is very treacherous and has limestone as opposed to sandstone. This means there are caves and many places to take shelter. The drones will come out and download their footage and it will be analyzed. Hopefully they will find them. There is a zodiac boat team down river searching. Search and rescue has dropped leaflet instructions to all boats on the Colorado River to be on the watch for any articles that could belong to Jackson and Luanne.

Monday Morning:

"Last night at 9 pm local time and 12 EST the search and rescue met with the families. There is nothing new to report. Search and rescue logged 300 man hours yesterday in the search. Rescuers were in the canyon searching all night. They are sending in drones at 7am to scour the wall of the slot canyon they think they could be in. The outlook is not promising but there is still a glimmer of hope. We will hold on to this hope until there is reason not to. Please keep praying.