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    ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Friends identified Horace Grigsby as the 15-year-old who drowned while swimming in the Meramec Caverns in Sullivan Saturday afternoon. Grigsby would have started his sophomore year at Collinsville High School this fall and competed on the football team his freshman year.

Friends and coaches said his smile was contagious and his sense of humor brightened any room. Isaiah Gordon played on the football team with Grigsby but their friendship goes back nearly six years.

“He made the mood a lot better," Gordon said. "Funny guy. Made everybody laugh."

Gordon said he doesn’t remember a day where he didn’t see or talk to Grigsby. He said his best friend always pushed him to be better – whether they were playing football, basketball or riding bikes.

“He made everybody smile," Gordon said. “He was a hot head but he got along with everybody.”

Anthony Priest was Grigsby’s little league coach in middle school and turned into a mentor throughout the years. He said Grigsby's death is a tremendous loss to many in the Collinsville community.

“It still feels different, it doesn’t feel real,” Priest said. “Every time I look I expect to hear his voice or something or annoying or him to crack a joke.”

Friends said Grigsby was a good swimmer but wasn’t wearing a life jacket. They said he had aspirations of one day designing his own t-shirt and footwear line.

This is the second drowning in the Meramec River in the last month. News Four reached out to the Missouri Highway Patrol to find out if action will be taken to increase safety along the Meramec River. Officials said not much can be done, other than continuing to encourage people to wear a life jacket when swimming in the river.

Friends are raising money to help the Grigsby family with expenses.

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