SWANSEA, Mass. (WPRI) — Hundreds gathered at a baseball field in Swansea Thursday night to honor the 17-year-old who was killed in a car crash last week.
Police said Ethan Kielec was driving on Marvel Street late Friday night when he hit a fire hydrant and then a utility pole. His passenger, a 17-year-old boy from Swansea, was transported to the hospital with injuries that weren’t life-threatening.
Kielec was a member of Boy Scout Troop 303, which hosted the vigil at Swansea Veteran’s Memorial Park.
Scouts came out in droves to honor the teenager. The vigil included a candle lighting and remarks from the troop’s chaplain and Kielec’s father.
“We lost Ethan way too early in life. It was very heartbreaking for me,” Matthew Kielec said. “When this happened, my first thought was, oh my god. How am I going to handle this?”
Kielec, scoutmaster for the Swansea troop, said his son was a leader for younger Scouts.
“They all looked up to Ethan all the time,” he said. “With Ethan not here, I knew it was going to be rough for the boys.”
So, Kielec set the vigil for the same night as their regular Scout meeting, and started the it as if it was one.
It was the first meeting without Ethan, who was a member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s Honor Society, and had been working on his eagle project.
Kielec said his son loved helping others and loved the park where his vigil took place.
“As a troop we came here to do our activities,” his father said. “Ethan loved to go to the fishing spot back there, until he found a better fishing spot.”
While they struggle with the tragic loss, Ethan’s dad said he hopes his son is remembered for his kindness and wishes he got more time.
“I wish that I could have seen the greater good that he was going to accomplish the rest of his life because I know there was a lot more to see from him,” Kielec said. “He just got caught off early.”