DENTON In trying times, many turn to religion.

That was true for 100 members of Denton's First United Methodist Church who were out of town at a fall retreat when tragedy hit home.

"One of the moms called me to let me know, because it was all over Facebook, and she didn't want her kids to find out that way," said youth pastor Deana Ferguson.

She had the difficult job of telling several Guyer High School students they'd lost football player Nate Maki.

Friends tell News 8 his death on Saturday night was some sort of hunting accident. Alcohol is believed to have been involved, but Montague County deputies continue to investigate.

The news was devastating to Maki's friends, but also to the rest of the kids on retreat. Seeing the pain, Ferguson's daughter Hannah Hollister had an idea.

"I remember the same thing 10 years ago," she said.

In search of comfort, she went to Walmart.

"When I got there, amazingly enough, the blue was sitting on the floor, and it was just there. And I was like, 'That is Guyer blue,'" she said, describing the memorial ribbons she decided to craft for the group. "The little silver was the finishing touch for it."

"I put the two together and they just glowed, and so I knew that was exactly what they needed," Hollister said.

Her idea came from an unfortunate experience. She remembered that ribbons helped back when she was in school and lost two classmates.

"Having that ribbon gave us the sense that we were not only supporting our classmates, but we were there supporting everyone, and it gave us that peace," she said.

And it brought peace again, as kids and counselors wore them proudly the rest of the weekend.

A simple ribbon provided a source of strength and support for the Maki family.

"Every time I looked at mine, I just prayed," Hollister aid. "Prayed for the family and for their friends and for everyone surrounding them."

Many of the students at the retreat plan on wearing their ribbons to school on Tuesday. At Guyer, they'll fit right in.

A quick look at Twitter shows many students there will be wearing blue in memory of Nate Maki.


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