Giovanni ”Gio” Mediati was strong leader, both on and off of the baseball field, his friends said. Photo provided
The Creswell community is in mourning after a 15-year-old died last week in a swimming accident, just hours after school let out for summer break.
On the afternoon of June 13, after a week of taking final exams, Giovanni ”Gio” Mediati and a group of about 20 friends floated the Coast Fork Willamette River to celebrate the end of freshman year at Creswell High School.
After the river float, the friends made their way to the Marple property on Cloverdale Road for another round of swimming – this time at the well-known gravel-pit pond, where the friends had swam several times before. As students splashed and swam, parents gathered and chatted in the house.
In the blink of an eye, Gio went under the water and did not resurface. Friends called out. Parents and kids dove into the water. But depths in the pond reach 30 feet in some parts, and the water was too dark to see past two feet.
Lane County Sheriff’s Office marine deputies, patrol deputies, search-and-rescue divers, Creswell deputies and South Lane County Fire & Rescue responded to the area, but by the time Gio was found, he had already been underwater for several minutes. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
In the wake of Gio’s accidental drowning, his high school and middle school friends, baseball teammates past and present, their families, teachers, neighbors and community members have come together to offer love and support to Gio’s family – dad Rick, mom Laura and his brother Giuseppe.
After all, he was a pretty special kid.
Nathan Marple loved Gio’s personality. He was positive, honest and kind, the type of kid you want your own kids around, he said. ”I’ve never had a negative interaction with Gio, only positive ones.” Though he was one of his son’s best friends, ”he was really my friend, too.”
Gio’s baseball coach, Tyler Main, said he would call Gio ”GQ,” because he always looked like he stepped off a movie scene or out of a photo shoot.
”I’m going to miss seeing that contagious ‘GQ’ smile of his,” Main said. ”He was always so happy and joyful, and he would do anything to make others happy,” Main said. ”Even when I was mad or disappointed, Gio, no matter what, he would make me smile or laugh.”
”He was the epitome of an all-American boy,” said teacher Stan Mercer, who met Gio during his eighth-grade year, his first in the Creswell School District. ”Without trying to change anything about himself to fit in to a new school, he was almost instantly accepted by his peers because of the genuinely good person he was.”
”Being only in the district for the last two years, you could tell that the friendships that were made were more than casual friendships and more like family,” said CMS teacher Janelle Sailer.
Gio, ”was a friend to all at CHS and truly embodied the spirit of what it means to be a Bulldog,” CHS Principal Adam Watkins said.
When he talked about baseball, he would light up and become animated, friends said.
”My fondest memories of Gio were our conversations about baseball – but not just any baseball, San Francisco Giants baseball,” Sailer said. ”We were the only two San Francisco fans and he could bring up any player, statistic or play about the Giants.”
Gio was an outstanding baseball player, always playing with the highest amount of effort. ”There’s not enough words to explain what Gio meant to not only our community, but our team and to his brothers,” Main said.
It didn’t matter if his team was losing 20-0, ”he loved being out on that diamond with his brothers,” Main said. ”One thing that still gets me every time is after every game, I have all the pitchers run some poles and tell them to ice their arms when they get home. Gio would always say, ‘Coach I’m always iced up!’ He always had his chains on!”
”All of Gio’s teammates looked up to him. He was a great kid and a great leader,” said Craig Leonard, a neighbor.
”Gio made me a better coach and a better man and I will never forget him,” Main said.
A GoFundMe account in Gio’s name, started by family friend Mellani Ocampo on June 16 on behalf of the family, raised $9,467 of its $10,000 goal within 17 hours. Donations small and large, from $15 donated by a fellow student to $500 from an anonymous donor, poured in – as did heartfelt condolences – and the account page had been shared – ”with heart” – more than 1,000 times.
A memorial account for the Mediati family also has been set up at Banner Bank on Oregon Avenue. The account is in Gio’s name under account number 24301012247.
Gio ”will be truly missed by the Creswell High School family. We continue to grieve the loss with his family and with all those that will miss his daily presence in our lives,” Watkins said.
”His legacy will live on in the many lives he touched and the positive impact he had on those that were lucky enough to get to know him,” Mercer said.
Details for a community memorial service at the high school are expected to be finalized on Thursday. The service is expected to be held next week; information will be released as it becomes available.