Mother stresses importance of life jackets on 5-year anniversary of son’s death at Belews Lake

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STOKES COUNTY, N.C. -- Fishing on the water is a relaxing way to spend a warm day, but it took a tragic turn in 2014.

Belews Lake was the spot for Jake Line and his buddy Pat Bohenstiel, until April 17, 2014, when they left to fish and didn't return.

Both men drowned. Jake was 27, Pat was 44. Since that day, every April 17, Line's mother visits him at Mt. Gur Cemetery.

"Every year gets tougher because it’s just another year that we’ve spent without him," Lois Line said.

Line didn’t have children, but he had Mary -- the dog he once rescued is now 15 years old. His mother now cares for the dog.

"Where he would park his car, where he would spend his time -- she would wait for him, look for him for a good couple weeks," Lois Line said.

Wednesday, for the first time since his death, she returned to the place that took her son too soon.

"It’s hard. It’s hard to be back," she said.

Five years from the day her son and his friend made one deadly mistake, she warned others not to do the same.

"Just to let everyone know if they just would’ve had on those life jackets I would not have to be here today. I don’t want anyone to endure what I had to endure," she said.

Rescue squad officials say wearing a life jacket, going with a buddy, having an emergency plan and not drinking heavily are ways to stay safe on a lake.

Jake Line's brother Jordan still fishes. He recently named his son after Jake, who he also expects to fish, and always with a life jacket.

"He’s going to pass that down to his son and then we won’t have to introduce anyone by a picture on the wall or tell stories about someone who is not here," said Lois.

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