Thursday evening, friends, family, and community members gathered for a balloon release in honor of fallen Benjamin Barnes YMCA coach Tracy Braggs Jr.

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Green, white, and black balloons filled the air as dozens of loved ones gathered to honor the beloved YMCA coach. Tracy Braggs Jr. was described as an invaluable volunteer, by Benjamin Barnes YMCA Executive Director LaKeda Smith.

"Coach Tracy was a super-duper individual because when we needed people just to step up and mentor young boys we couldn't find any," said Smith. "He stood up and stood the capacity of three people which meant 30 children had a mentor."

Braggs Jr. was hit by a drunk driver in February of this year and passed away as a result. He was a coach to THREE teams at the Benjamin Barnes YMCA at the time of his accident.

Tracy Braggs Sr. spoke about his son at the balloon release, "He was awesome. He was a good kid, he loved the kids, he was an awesome uncle and big cousin. Being with kids was nothing new to him."

DreDay, Townsquare Media
DreDay, Townsquare Media

Latonya Braggs says her son followed in her footsteps when it comes to loving on the children and taking care of the children. "Back in the late '80s, early 90's I was an afterschool counselor at the Benjamin Barnes YMCA."

Latonya says what made her most proud of her son was that "Failure wasn't an option for him. He had that on his chest as a tattoo," she said. "That's what he instilled in the children not to ever give up. Keep pushing...Keep going."

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