Prayer vigil for missing Plumbers & Pipefitters 562 apprentice draws overflow crowd

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Local 562 members joined family and friends at memorial event

By SHERI GASSAWAY
Missouri Correspondent

KYLIE LOUDERMILK, Kenny Loudermilk’s only daughter, lights the candle of a woman attending the Oct. 26 prayer vigil in Washington, Mo. for her father, a missing Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 apprentice who reportedly landed in the Missouri River while paragliding. About 250 people attended the event. – Labor Tribune photo

Washington, MO – About 250 people attended a prayer vigil here Nov. 2 for a missing Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 member who reportedly landed in the Missouri River while paragliding Oct. 26.

Kenny Lee Loudermilk, a fourth-year apprentice at Jarrell Mechanical Contractors, and a fellow glider suited up for a scenic fall trip from Defiance to Hermann. Eyewitnesses say the single dad landed in the river just southeast of the Highway 47 Bridge in Washington and never resurfaced.

Loudermilk’s 15-year-old daughter Kylie described her father as adventurous, kind-hearted and very generous. She said parasailing was his favorite hobby and that he was always very safe and cautious and wouldn’t fly if conditions were unfavorable.

‘LIVE IN HOPE’
“I want thank everyone here for coming out,” said Kylie, who lost her mother at age 3. “It is nice to know how many care and were willing to show up. Dad is happy and he is here with us in spirit now, and we should still live in hope because there is a small chance there could be a miracle.”

KENNY LOUDERMILK, a single dad and experienced paraglider, took a scenic fall trip from Defiance to Hermann on Oct. 26. He landed in the river just southeast of the Highway 47 Bridge in Washington and never resurfaced. – Photo courtesy of the Loudermilk family

The event was held at a pavilion at James Rinneck Riverfront Park, the site where Loudermilk became submerged in the water. Family, friends, co-workers and fellow Local 562 members overflowed the pavilion in a service filled with prayer, music and remembrance.

About 75 Local 562 members attended the event and lined the banks of the river with Local 562 signatory contractor vans. The day Loudermilk went down, Jerrell Mechanical Contractors sent a team of about 50 employees to search the river and provided food for the search party.

LOCAL 562 FAMILY: Local 562 members attended the prayer vigil for brother Loudermilk and lined the banks of the river with Local 562 signatory contractor vans. – Labor Tribune photo

‘WE ARE ALL FAMILY’
“It was impressive to see how much Kenny touched all of us at Local 562, in such a short period of time,” Local 562 Business Manager John O’Mara said of the search. “We are all brothers and sisters. We are all family and our hearts go out to Kenny’s family and friends. You can tell what a difference he made in the lives of others by the crowd gathered here.”

Recovery efforts continue with the Missouri Water Patrol, local police and fire departments and experienced diving teams. The family is requesting donations to help pay for additional search efforts.

“We will not give up,” said Loudermilk’s brother-in-law Kevin Baker. “I want to thank every single one of you that came out to light a light that so bright, it brings Kenny home.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP
Family and friends have set up a Go Fund Me account to help pay for search efforts, final expenses and to support Brother Loudermilk’s only daughter Kylie. To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/finding-kenny-lee-laudermilk-kylies-support.

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