Son organizes river cleanup to memorialize father who died kayaking

By Lauren Compton - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The James River is one of Richmond's most treasured natural beauties and David Nutter would like to keep it that way.

For the past two years he has organized a river cleanup to keep the river clean and preserve the memory of his father, Jerry A. Nutter.

David Nutter says that as a teenager he and his father grew apart, but it was their common love for kayaking that brought them back together.

"It made us father and son again," Nutter said.

On December 29, 2007, Nutter, his father Jerry, and their friend Tim were kayaking a section of the James River called the "Pipeline."  They were on the last leg of their trip when something went wrong.

"He flipped over for some reason. He tried to roll his boat back up, but he couldn't. Then, he went upside down and hit a rock. As soon as I saw him I made a beeline for his boat," says Nutter recalling that day.

By the time Nutter reached his father he was unconscious. He pulled this father ashore and began to perform CPR. His father did not survive, despite wearing the safety gear needed and being an experienced kayaker.

Nutter has made peace with what happened that day and has organized a river cleanup to honor his father.

In the future the Nutter family plans to memoralize the place on the sandy beach below the Pipeline Rapids where Jerry A. Nutter died to remind people to keep the river clean and to be safe.

The cleanup event is this Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and anyone who wants to join is welcome, Nutter said. All attendees should meet at the Belle Isle parking lot at Tredgar Street at noon.

Event: 2nd Annual Fall James River Clean Up in memory of Jerry A. Nutter: "Come out and help save the bay one bag of trash at a time"
When: Saturday, Sept. 12 noon-3 p.m.
Where: Belle Isle Parking Lot, Tredegar Street

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