PLATTSBURGH — The one message that rang clear at Tuesday’s vigil for SUNY Plattsburgh student Kodi Kadeem Beckles was that he was one of the sweetest guys you could ever meet.
“He was always better than me,” said his dad, Michael Beckles. “He was kinder, he was gentler... He was the nicest person I ever actually met.”
Mr. Beckles spoke to a crowd of more than 2,000 students and community members gathered in the Memorial Hall gym to honor their brother who died last weekend after turning up missing after a party.
Many wore black and held hands and hugged each other as they sat in the bleachers and at mid court on the floor.
An avid basketball fan and pickup player, Kodi was remembered with a large portrait of him dressed in a sharp gray suit with a wide smile on his face. A Jamaican flag lay in front of the picture near the gym’s three-point line.
“It’s important to give people a platform to speak and to grieve and to raise awareness,” Michael Haynes, a senior from Brooklyn who handled master of ceremonies duty at the vigil, said after the 90-minute tribute.
Kodi, 20, was honored by several friends and members of Club Caribbean and his fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi.
Scott Sheehan, Kodi’s dormitory resident assistant, said the guys on his floor gave him the nickname “Kodi Kat.”
“He was always so friendly, and he would always acknowledge you and ask you how your day was going,” Sheehan said.
While many people prefer shower flip-flops, Kodi used to take it a step further and actually wear sneakers in the shower, Sheehan said, prompting a relaxing laughter from the crowd.
GIFT OF BOW TIE
Kodi’s fraternity big brother, Anthony Dorcena, said that although he only knew Kodi for a short time, he was fast becoming a close friend.