Josh Level. Courtesy NGFS.
Greensboro, N.C. -- Every student at one Triad high school is learning how to use a defibrillator and how to do CPR. It's a way to honor the memory of New Garden Friends School's star athlete, Josh Level.
Josh collapsed on the basketball court in February. He died soon after from a heart virus called Myocarditis. Josh's father believes a defibrillator may have saved his son's life.
"I think he lives on through all of us," senior Shelby Roberts said. "He had a bright smile. He had a great personality. He was just a very Godly man."
You can still feel and see Josh Level's presence at New Garden Friends School. A tree planted in his memory grows in the courtyard. A portrait of Josh hangs in the gym. A framed tribute to Josh greets everyone who enters the school.
"When Josh passed away, it was like a death in my family. It became my mission for all of us to keep our students safe," Campus Head Darrell Cotton said. "Life is so short. We have to be prepared."
No one knows if a defibrillator would have saved Josh's life. However, this year, a volunteer trainer is teaching every student how to use the machine and how to do CPR.
"I'd like to think that Josh is looking down on us and would really like that we are taking proactive steps to prevent this in the future," Roberts said.
Josh's father, Joseph Level, has yet to visit his son's grave. The pain is just too much.
"We miss him...It's a constant aching in our hearts that we just can't shake," Joseph Level said. "I miss his big hands wrapping around me, giving me a hug."
Knowing his son's classmates are learning life-saving skills brings him comfort.
"What an outstanding gesture of goodwill....It's also just a common sense thing to want to learn," Joseph Level said. "Josh was only there 40 days, but he's already made a lifetime of difference at that school."
In addition, an anonymous donor gave New Garden Friends School a defibrillator to take on the road when athletes travel. Plus, football star Charlie Sanders is planning to donate another defibrillator to the school in Josh's memory.