June 20, 2007
Missing from this year's annual Batteau Festival was was one of the festival's most active participants, Dewey Wood.
Wood was murdered in Nelson County just last month. So this week, as the festival makes its way down the James River, those boaters paused to remember a friend.
"We're kind of like a big family," explained Buddy High, the chairman of the annual festival.
But one member of that family, Wood, was not there.
"I knew him personally," said High. "Dewey was a good friend of mine, in fact, I was a pallbearer . He was a man among men."
Wood was shot and killed just weeks ago on May 23. Police say Wood and Thomas Turner got into an argument. It apparently got out of hand and Turner allegedly shot Wood multiple times. By the time police got to the scene Wood was dead.
It was devastating news to the very close group of boaters. So on Monday night hundreds gathered along the banks of the James River in Nelson County to remember their friend.
"We stood around and talked about all the good times we had with Dewey and what we felt about him," said High.
"You didn't have to know him long and he treated you like his best friend," said Brian Roberts, who was the captain of "The Fluvanna," and met Wood three years ago.
Two years ago our own news crew spoke with Wood at the festival.
"The batteau is really a nice experience and a wholesome experience," he said in the 2005 interview with the Newsplex.
Wood had been a batteauman for 15 years and friends said planned to take part in the festival again this year. So to help deal with their loss boaters said they were thinking of the memories they shared with their friend.
"Every time you saw him he was just having a ball," said High.
High said they were hoping to get a plaque in memory of Wood. They will to place it along the James River where Dewey spent so much of his time.