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SILVER CREEK – A crowd of more than 100 family, friends and former classmates of William C. Sager Jr. gathered Friday night on the football field at Silver Creek High School for a prayer vigil for the man who has been in a coma since being injured in a May 11 incident at a Buffalo bar.

The group sent up 28 balloons to reflect Sager’s age.

“It’s fitting that we are here on the high school football field,” said Sean Helmer, head football coach. “Bill learned a lot about life on this field”

Brandyn Griewisch, a former teammate and good friend of Sager, organized the event. The two grew up on Lincoln Avenue in Silver Creek, and Sager graduated a year ahead of Griewisch.

“We stayed in touch on Facebook, and I just felt like I had to do something in person for Bill,” said Griewisch. 

Sager is in a medically induced coma in Erie County Medical Center after being injured in Molly’s Pub in the University Heights district. His father, William C. Sager Sr., attended the vigil and said Friday was a good day for his son. He said that he is still in the trauma unit but that doctors see improvement.

“His friends here have always been supportive,” he said.

Chris Postle, another classmate, said, “We have been best friends since the seventh grade, and I love Bill like a brother.” He said that football, hockey, baseball, hunting and fishing were some of the activities they enjoyed together.

“He learned his values on this football field,” Postle said. “He learned about hard work, teamwork and responsibility.”

Prayers at the service were conducted by the Rev. Michael Leamon of Christ Chapel Wesleyan Church in Silver Creek.

Fundraising events are planned for Aug. 3 at the Grand Island Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and Sept. 13 at the Silver Creek VFW.