Thursday, June 2, 2016

OPSU Suffers the Loss of Student Athlete Over Memorial Day Weekend

By Justine Gaskamp on 06/01/2016
Goodwell, Okla.—The thoughts and prayers of the entire Oklahoma Panhandle State University community remain with the friends and family of James Cameron III, who was lost in a tragic swimming accident at Carolina Beach, N.C. over the holiday weekend.

According to a news release from the Carolina Beach Police Department on May 28, police and fire crews responded to a call about a swimmer in distress Saturday evening just before 8 p.m. Cameron was swimming with family when he went missing in the rough waters. Strong riptides and undercurrents produced by Tropical Storm Bonnie are presumed to be the cause for Cameron’s disappearance.

Air, land and water crews including teams from the U.S. Coast Guard maintained searches for the missing swimmer through Tuesday evening when the body was recovered and positively identified by next of kin. OPSU President Dr. Tim Faltyn commented on the tragedy, “I am deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own Panhandle family members. We are a tight-knit campus and the effects of this loss will be far-reaching, as James was known and loved by many. Our hope moving forward is to honor this young man’s life and to be there for the entire Cameron family through this very difficult time.”

Cameron, a running back for the Aggie football team, had just completed his junior year at OPSU and was visiting family in North Carolina. News of the 21 year-old’s disappearance spread quickly through the OPSU community. He was revered by the many students and staff who knew him; the vibrant and energetic young man was rarely seen without an infectious and heartwarming smile on his face.

Head Football Coach Russell Gaskamp was hit hard with the loss of his player, “Our team is absolutely distraught with the news, and James will be missed immensely. Our team foundation is ‘Strength, Unity, and Family’ and we will have to lean on and take care of each other now more than ever.” Gaskamp continued, “During his three years at OPSU James matured and grew on the field, in the community and in the classroom, making the Presidential Honor Roll (4.0 GPA) in the fall. He was also a member of our Leadership Council and by far one of the most popular and magnetic personalities on the team. We loved James very much. Please join us in prayer for his family.”

Information about funeral arrangements and memorial services will be announced as they are received by the campus communications offices. A full press release from the Wilmington Star News can be found at

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