Hundreds gathered at Allan Yorke Park in Bonney Lake Thursday night to honor two community members with a candlelight vigil.
James Larsen, 41, and Zach Roundtree, 27, died in an avalanche while snowmobiling with friends Kyle Ottwell, 26, and Ryan Journey, 27, near Cle Elum on March 3.
“What’s been going on the last few days is something I’ll never forget,” Bonney Lake Mayor Neil Johnson said at the vigil. “The way the community has come out to respect and embrace the lives of (James) and Zach.”
What’s been going on the last few days is something I’ll never forget. The way the community has come out to respect and embrace the lives of (James) and Zach.
Neil Johnson, mayor of Bonney Lake
Larsen was a Buckley resident, 14-year member of the Bonney Lake Police Department and owned a construction business. The day before his death, he’d completed his last flight to become a pilot, said his sister, Lori Murphy.
“That guy lived and did everything he wanted, anything he wanted, whenever he wanted... He didn’t live life with any regrets,” she said at the vigil.
Roundtree was a Bonney Lake resident, Air Force veteran and son of a longtime Bonney Lake Public Works employee.
“This week has been hell,” said Curt Roundtree, Zach’s father. He thanked law enforcement officers and firefighters for their help. “I’ve been supported by many (people)... It was amazing what you all did and my family and I really appreciate it.”
Curt also thanked Journey for doing what he could in the emergency.
“Ryan — he’s the one that dug my son out and tried to revive him… so much respect from me and my family for what you attempted to do, son,” Curt said at the vigil. “Stop beating yourself up. You did what you could do and you don't know how much we appreciate it.”
Law enforcement from across the region attended to show their support. Sumner Police Department Chaplain Bob Ihler spoke to the crowd to honor the two men.
“The support for our department, our fallen officer, Zachary — it’s been overwhelming,” Bonney Lake Police Chief Dana Powers said. “(James) used to go to the office and play practical jokes on everyone just to see people start smiling and having a good time. That’s who he was.”
The support for our department, our fallen officer, Zachary — it’s been overwhelming...(James) used to go to the office and play practical jokes on everyone just to see people start smiling and having a good time. That’s who he was.
Dana Powers, Bonney Lake police chief
Friends, family and community members gathered with candles and sang “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks, a song that Larsen enjoyed listening to, his friends said.
Louise Emry and Laura Miller were former co-workers of Larsen’s at the police department. Miller had known him for 20 years. They came to the vigil to show their support.
“He was the sweetest guy,” Emry said.
“He was a very hard worker and a good guy,” Miller said, who was also Larsen’s neighbor. “He really cared about his work…He made time for so many friends and family.”
The number of people at the vigil was testimony of how many lives they both touched, they said.
“The one thing I’m going to go away with, I put in my daily calendar, is what I’ve heard both of these family members have said about (James) and Zach — (to) live life, don’t let life live you.”