Special Photo This memorial bench between White Oak Elementary School and Lanier Middle School was donated by the Gwinnett Chamber in memory of Jake and Griffin Prince. The two boys died in June when a boat piloted by their father was hit by another boat on Lake Lanier.
SUGAR HILL -- Thanks to a recent community donation, the memory of two local boys who passed away last summer will remain on a plot of land between the schools they attended.
A memorial bench and oak tree sapling between White Oak Elementary and Lanier Middle schools was recently donated by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce as a monument to Griffin and Jake Prince, two brothers killed last summer in a boating accident on Lake Lanier.
Their grandfather, Gary Hansen, was one of more than 50 in attendance during the dedication ceremony March 23.
"We were very gratified, and we continue to be amazed at the goodness in the hearts of so many people," Hansen said. "This tragedy did touch the hearts of many."
Jake, 9, and Griffin, 13, died in mid-June when a pontoon boat piloted by their father was struck head-on by another vessel.
The driver of the fishing boat that smashed into the Prince's pontoon was charged with boating under the influence and first-degree homicide by vessel.
In March, lawmakers approved the lowering of boating under the influence levels, a change brought about in honor of the late Prince brothers.
The proposal passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 146-17. It would lower the BUI level from 0.10 blood alcohol content to match the driving under the influence level of 0.08.
Hansen said the public's attention toward the tragedy has been a positive.
"We feel like we've been blessed," he said. "We know that we'll see the boys again someday in heaven. We talk a lot about that as a family and publicly. It has given us the strength to go forward."