Attleboro High School senior Nick Vero was killed while vacationing with his family in the Outer Banks in North Carolina this past week.
"He just loved everybody and loved life. That's what I want people to remember,” said Lindsey Vero, Nick’s mom.
The 17-year-old was swimming Saturday night in heavy surf when he ran into trouble. He was not alone, Nick’s mom and girlfriend were sitting on the shore nearby.
"I was telling him to come in. He really wasn't even that deep. It was just me being over paranoid like I usually am. And, all the sudden, that was it. I heard him scream help, a wave knocked me down and that was the end of it,” said Vero.
Several other family members rushed in to help as well. Vero's uncle even ended up in the ICU after unsuccessfully trying to save Nick.
An extensive search and rescue effort yielded no results.
Back in Attleboro, the community is reeling.
We're told Nick was popular, loved sports, and ran track. The high school’s principal, Bill Runey spoke out about to ABC6 News about the tremendous loss.
"Nick had such a positive outlook on life. He's really what we try to mold in and out of our high school students,” said Runey.
Now, as Nick's family grapples with this loss, his mom has a message for other parents about the dangers of rip currents and heavy surf.
"It's not a joke, just put the life preserver on,” said Vero. “Go out there. Don't let them go by themselves. You need to stand out there and hold your kids hand, fine stand out there and hold your kids hand because at the end of the day you'll still have your child. I don't, and I have no idea where he is and I don't want anybody to ever have to feel that."
Grief councilors are available at Attleboro High School to students in need. There will be a moment of silence on Friday at the football game in Nick’s honor.
For those looking to help the family a Go Fund Me Page has been set up. They have also set up an account at Rockland Trust Bank under the name Prayers for Nick.