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Tragedy on Lake Lanier
Community mourns loss of two friends
A-Memorial Service pic 6
Leanne Cox, mother of Mason Cox, hugs her son Cody as they speak during Sunday nights memorial service for Cox and friend David Wood at North Georgia Church in Dawson County. - photo by Scott Rogers, DCN Regional Staff

Hugs, tears and laughter were shared Sunday as the community gathered to mourn the loss of two Dawson County men whose bodies were found in Lake Lanier a little over a week after they were reported missing.

"It is with a heavy heart that we're here, but we do want to celebrate," service organizer Shawn Dutcher said.

Mason Cox and David Wood, both 20, were last seen about 3:30 a.m. Jan. 2, when they went to go fishing.

The best friends' bodies were found Friday in the lake, about a quarter of a mile from where they were believed to have been fishing. Authorities have ruled their drownings accidental.

Family and friends took turns Sunday remembering two young men who should have been at the beginning of their lives.

"There's something that I found in Mason's glove box ... when I went through his car," said Leanne Cox, Mason's mother. "When we were doing the FaceTime thing, he asked me ‘Mom, have you started making your New Year's resolutions yet?'"

She said she didn't think much of it, but when she was going through her son's car she found the list of resolutions her son had made a day before he went missing.

"These were the four things in Mason's handwriting ... the first thing he (wrote) was I'm going to get a job at the fire department. The second thing was I'm going to be a better friend to help my friends make better choices.

"His third thing was, I want me to find a woman that will help me in my life, to be who I'm going to be. The fourth thing that Mason put on there was I'm going to be self-reliant."

Leanne Cox said her son was saved over the New Year's holiday, a fact he was keeping quiet to tell her on her birthday, Jan. 6.

Many of Wood's wrestling teammates from Dawson County High School were on hand to recall a friend who loved to show off on the mat and who was very protective of his son and younger sister beyond words.

"His boy's down here, and I'm sure he'll be a Tiger wrestler one day, too," Dawson County High wrestling coach Arron Haynes said.

Wood left behind a 20-month-old son, Carter.

"David, he loved to be on the mat. He loved life," Haynes said. "David was tough throughout. There was never any doubt. If I needed somebody on the mat, he was going to step up there and take care of business."

The families have set up a GoFundMe account online for people to donate to help offset funeral costs. It can be accessed at