Hearts were heavy Sunday as firefighters, friends and community members in Gold Bar learned about the loss of one of their own.
The Gold Bar Firefighter's Association confirmed that Sam Grafton died Saturday while kayaking near North Bend on the Snoqualmie River.
Grafton was with a group of friends on the river when he somehow ended up in the water and drowned, according to rescue crews.
Crews searched the river and a King County Sheriff's Office helicopter helped with the recovery.
According to colleagues, Grafton, who was in his late 20s, was a long-time volunteer firefighter/EMT in Gold Bar and Index.
He was also a rescue technician trained in swift water rescue and high angle rescue.
"He had a zest for life," Heather Chadwick with Snohomish County Fire said.
Colleagues say Grafton was so skilled and knowledgeable that he trained others.