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Loved ones remember teens faith
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GAINESVILLE — Dayton Preslar fought back tears as he recalled close friend Charles Caston as a Christian and someone known for his looks, laughter and sincerity.

He also remembered the final chapters in the North Hall High School senior’s life.

Preslar was with Caston on a spring break trip to Destin, Fla., where they "made memories to last a lifetime." And then there was April 8, or Easter Sunday.

"Charles wanted to go to church with his family that morning, but little did he know that God was going to call him home," Preslar said.

Preslar spoke during a candlelight vigil Tuesday night for Caston in a packed gymnasium at the Georgia Mountains YMCA off Howard Road and Ga. 365. Caston worked for more than a year for the YMCA, but never saw completion of the new building. YMCA chief executive officer Mike Brown and sports director Jason Walters also spoke at the ceremony.

Cody Marlowe sang a couple of songs, including "How Great Thou Art" as attendees standing in the gymnasium encircled the family sitting down front with lighted candles.

Also, a moment of silence was observed and several prayers were offered.

The YMCA displayed a framed picture of Caston and an inscription saying that Caston’s "love for Christ, along with his service to the YMCA ministry, has left an everlasting impact."

Brown said the organization plans to keep the picture on permanent display. Also, the YMCA is raising money toward a college scholarship fund.

"We’ll be talking more about that in the future," he said.

Caston was destined for Young Harris College on an academic scholarship when the fatal wreck happened on Clarks Bridge Road in North Hall.

The 18-year-old died at the scene.

His death shocked the community. Caston was not only active at the YMCA but at school and church.

Several hundred people attended Tuesday’s vigil.

Walters recalled working alongside Caston in Saturday sporting activities.

"He always had enthusiasm, he always had a smile on his face," he said.

Walters also recalled Caston’s sense of humor.

He said the two were sitting in one of two trailers on the YMCA property — headquarters while work was under way on the new building — and Caston said, "What are they building over there? A Wal-Mart?"

The vigil’s most emotional moments came when Preslar spoke. He struggled to stay composed as he described his friend.

"Charles was real," he said. "What you saw was what you got. ... He loved to laugh and he loved to make others laugh and he did a good job of it. He was always upbeat and in a good mood."

Brown remembered Caston as a "brother in Christ, a wonderful son, a great friend and an honorable employee."

"There is absolutely nothing I can say tonight that will measure the life Charles lived," he said. "But each of you can be comforted with the love he continues to fill in that special place in your hearts."