Paradis man who drowned saved others through organ donation

In the last moments of his life, Paradis resident Shannon Summers, 44, was peacefully drifting on an inner tube at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo., his family close by at a popular recreational area called Moonshine Beach.

The hardworking dad of three had taken a short vacation with his family from the long hours he often worked at his warehousing job in New Orleans. He and his family had traveled in late July to Branson for a weekend World Series baseball tournament their youngest son, Ty, was participating in. With the tournament drawing to a close, Summers and his family were enjoying downtime together as they were due to travel home the following day.

Just an instant later, Summers was gone – slipping from his inner tube deep underwater into the lake.

Parts of Table Rock Lake, a 43,000-acre manmade reservoir created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, drops as deep as 220 feet. Despite being known to his family as a strong swimmer, Summers would not resurface from the lake alive. His body was eventually recovered, but he was declared dead at the local area Cox Hospital in Branson.

“From what I understand, first responders were telling me people drown in that lake [frequently],” his wife Crystal Elkin, 43, said. “It’s usually due to the undertow created by the boats that come flying through, so that’s all we can think that happened, because he was a really good swimmer.”

Elkin said she was first introduced to her late husband in her younger years while at a neighbor’s house, sometime around 1999.

“I was 19 and he was 20, and we were inseparable after that,” Elkin said fondly. “His family likes to joke that he met me, and they never saw him again.”

Together they went on to raise a family of three – Shannon Jr., Daisha and Ty. The two older children Shannon and Daisha are adults now and had since left the nest. Their daughter Daisha recently made Summers a proud grandfather, welcoming a new child into the family just a few weeks before he died.

“He wasn’t a very showy man – he never wanted the attention on him,” Elkin said of her late husband. “He was a family man – just a really good guy.”

After his unexpected death, Summers’ organs were donated, making him a hero to several other people in need of his life-giving organs.

“He was very healthy; he was able to save other people through that,” Elkin said, then pausing. “I think right now we’re all just trying to figure out how to cope.”

Following the family’s unexpected loss, costly arrangements had to be made to transport Shannon’s body back to St. Charles Parish, where funeral services were held for him in Killona.

Friends of the family started a GoFundMe page given Summers was the breadwinner of his family, to help offset funeral arrangement costs and shoulder a small part of the lost income his family now faces.

For more information on the Summers family’s GoFundMe page or to place a donation for the Summers family, visit www.gofundme under the fundraiser entitled “Shannon Summers.”


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