Family grieves drowning of 20-year-old

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, May 19, 2008

THURMOND LAKE---A family is reflecting on a young life and wondering why it was taken so soon, after a 20-year-old drowned at Thurmond Lake.

"From day one I said he was like a special grandson," said Lora Harris of her 20-year-old grandson, Serr Master Dozier.

She says he never had trouble making friends.

"He was funny, lot of times he was just a joy," she said.

His outgoing personality was something both she and his mother loved about him, and it shined when he played sports.

"As he grew, he always loved to go swimming. It was one of his main things that he loved to do," she said.

That love of the water stuck with him. Saturday, Dozier went fishing with his fiancee and her family at Thurmond Lake.

Investigators say he was trying to swim about 100 yards to a small island, but about halfway there his leg cramped up.

The family tried to save him, but they were too late. Investigators found his body a half hour later.

"I know I'm gonna miss him, miss many things about him," said Harris.

As his fiance's dad tried to help Dozier, he almost went under with the 20-year-old.

"You don't wanna go in the water, especially over your head with a drowning person, because they panic," said Park Ranger Jay Weidman. Instead, he says to use some type of device to try to pull the person out, without them pulling you.

Now this family is left grieving, but thankful for support, which is something Harris says Dozier would be giving her 22 grandkids.

"He was just right there for all of them, and they all really looked up to him," she said.

But now, she says he'll be looking down on her, something she never expected from one of her own.

Dozier was not the first member in his family to drown. One of his cousin's died at the lake, near that very same spot, about five years ago.

The family says they wish there were lifeguards to help at times like these, but there are signs there to let you know you're swimming at your own risk.

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