“Do not mourn his loss, celebrate his life.” That’s what the family of Draylen Mason urged loved ones to do Saturday.
This morning, the 17-year-old’s life was honored at a funeral at the Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church in east Austin.
Mason was one of two people killed by a serial bomber earlier this month. Five people were injured.
A KXAN reporter who attended the service estimated at least 2,000 people were there.
Next to his casket sat Draylen’s bass. Those leading prayer said that as just a little boy, Draylen would follow the musicians around at his church, and eventually picked up a guitar, learning to play his first instrument at a young age.
Family and friends shared stories about Draylen’s remarkable musical talent and his dedication to martial arts.
“God’s heavenly orchestra needed its bass player,” said Draylen’s godbrother.
His church family marveled at how he led prayers on Wednesday nights as soon as he was old enough to read.
And people from all parts of his life — school, music and church — were sharing stories of Draylen’s kind and encouraging spirit.
The grandmaster from Draylen’s martial arts studio also posthumously promoted Draylen to his 5th Degree Black Belt and held a belt ceremony. It received a standing ovation.
The studio also announced they’re starting a yearly scholarship in his honor.
“It has been said that Draylen was on his way to being something great. But, in my opinion, on March 12, Draylen was already something great,” East Austin College Prep Principal Erica Gonzalez told those assembled.
A YouCaring.com fundraising page for Mason’s family has raised more than $138,958, well over its $25,000 goal.