Friends And Family Celebrate The Life of James Nyei

On Wednesday, 14 year old James Nyei died after drowning in the Sheyenne River.

FARGO, N.D. – “I wish I could go back, and just, give him a big hug, and just tell him how much I love him and how much he meant to everyone.”

On Friday, James was buried surrounded by friends and family who described him as someone who could brighten up anyone’s day.

“Everything that he did was just always positive and nothing negative ever brought him down. And I’m just so happy to be part of that. And he was just, a great kid in general,” says KC Ortiz, teammate of Nyie at West Fargo High School.

“He was really outgoing in football, he always had a hard work ethic. When the coach corrected something, he’d be right on it, so fast. And just like, I admire him for that, cause I couldn’t do that, what he did,” says Eric Leseberg, teammate of Nyie at West Fargo High School.

For Eric Leserberg, it was hard to grasp the idea of no longer seeing his teammate every day.

“I just took it really numb, didn’t really believe it and then, we started talking about the memories we had and that when it started sinking in. What had happened and that’s when I realized he was going to be gone forever,” Leserberg says.

KC Ortiz, on the other hand, was there when it all happened.

Ortiz says it was a traumatizing experience and feels guilty for not having been able to do more.

“I just remember holding on to him, just to not let go, and just trust me, just hold on to me the rest of the time. And when he let go he just turned around, I just saw him struggling in the water, and just helped him, I tried to help him up, to get his air and he just kept pulling us under, I had to help him,”

Both teammates say being at the ceremony celebrating James was life-changing and add they will continue to honor James in everything they do.

The family did not want to speak on camera, but remember him as funny and caring as well as the biggest fan of the New England Patriots.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News