‘He was just an awesome kid’: Winston-Salem man identified as Lake Norman drowning victim

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A Winston-Salem family has identified the 22-year old man who drowned in Lake Norman Saturday afternoon.

They said that Christopher Campbell Jr. had spent the day on a boat with a group of friends near Charlotte that weekend.

While in a lifejacket, Chris jumped into the water, however, the life jacket slipped off and Chris went under.

His body was pulled from the water hours later.

“I was in line at the bank when I heard,” Bryant George explained. Bryant is the owner of Char’s, a restaurant in Winston-Salem where Chris worked.

“His dad said, ‘C is dead.’ I told him I didn’t want to hear that," he said.

Bryant had watched Chris grow up right in front of his eyes. Chris’ father Christopher Campbell Sr. worked as a cook at Char’s for 20 years. Naturally, he met Chris when he was just a baby.

“Yeah, I saw him grow up here," he said. "When Chris was a kid, his dad brought him up here and told him to ask me for a job.”

Chris was just 15-years old when he started at Char’s.

“I have hired 137 employees. He was the best I ever hired.” Despite having two sons of his own, Bryant had discussed passing Char’s over to Chris to own and manage when he was ready.

“He was just an awesome kid, I don’t know what else to say about it,” Chris’ mother Sheryre Campbell said.

Thursday, five days after she lost her child, she and Chris’ father sat down with FOX8 News to talk about their son.

Their living room coffee table was crowded with sympathy cards, while photos of Chris had taken over the family’s dining table in the kitchen.

“That is my son,” Chris’ father said as he opened up a flip-book of baby photos of Christopher. The photo he picked out was Christopher dressed in an oversized red polo shirt and black shorts. He was no older than 8 in the photo but had the height of an 11-year old.

“He wasn’t flashy. He was a tall boy. That’s just who he was,” his father explained.

His son took online college classes and lived at home to work and help take care of his mother who has multiple sclerosis.

“Every time I’d get out of the chair, he’d hop up just to see if I wasn’t going to fall,” his mother described. “He’d be like, ‘Do you need something from the kitchen? Can I get you something to eat?’”

Because he lived at home, Christopher spent most of his spare time around his father.

After Christopher left work from Char’s, he would go and work for his dad who owns his own business. His father is an entrepreneur, something that Chris slowly started gravitating towards.

“He wanted to open up a food truck,” his father explained as he pulled out a notebook full of his son’s creative food ideas. At the top of the paper, his son had drawn a picture of Pac-man next to the title, Chicken Waffle Burgers.

“He started working on that menu, and he came up with the concept that was going to hit the street next season,” Chris senior explained.

Christopher Sr. and Sheryre are broken that they will never get to see their son again. But, they are cherishing the amazing 22-years they got to spend with him. They’re holding onto the special moments, and the lessons their son taught them through his servant attitude.

Chris’ funeral is scheduled for this Friday. Out of respect for he and his family, Char’s will be closed all day.

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