Mom behind Noah Dean and Nate bill hopes for change

Mom behind Noah Dean and Nate bill hopes for change

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Nate Lynam (left) and Noah Winstead (source: families) Nate Lynam (left) and Noah Winstead (source: families)

By WHITNEY GOOD
6 News Reporter

MORRISTOWN (WATE) - A Morristown mom is turning tragedy into a chance for change.

10-year-old Noah Winstead and his friend, 11-year-old Nate Lyman, died in 2012 after they were electrocuted while swimming in a lake.

Now a bill in their names that would add more safety measures to marinas has passed both the senate and the house.

"I don't want another parent to go through this. I don't want another family member to go through this," said Jessica Winstead.

When Winstead gave birth to her Noah on Valentine's Day, 2002, she never expected she would have to bury him just 10 years later.

"When he died, when I found out he was electrocuted it was something I couldn't comprehend and I never really did comprehend it until months later," she said.

Noah and Nate were spending July 4th, 2012, swimming at a marina when tragedy struck.

Electricity leaking from a nearby boat carried through the water, electrocuting the boys.

"Electrocution was something I always associated with how murderers should die, not a person swimming in a lake, or especially my 10-year-old son," said Jessica Winstead.

Winstead turned her grief into a mission--a plan to help ensure no one else ever had to go through the same.

It is called the Noah Dean and Nate bill.

"Number one I want to carry on Noah's name and I'm grateful that this bill does that but number two I want to make the waters safer," she said.

The bill makes annual fire marshal inspections at marinas mandatory.

It also means all newly built marinas or any marinas undergoing upgrades have to include something called ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).

"It would have shut that electricity off immediately, whereas in Noah and Nate's case someone had to actually manually say 'shut the power off.' Someone had to have the comprehension to say that, and someone had to physically go over and shut the power of," said Winstead.

With boating season quickly approaching, Winstead says she is happy to see the bill progressing, hopefully saving lives.

"I want to do this in memory of Noah and Nate, but I want to do it for the future of Tennessee lake lovers," she said.

The bill passed the senate and the house votes unanimously Wednesday.

It now goes to the governor's desk.

Winstead says she plans to continue traveling and educating marina owners and boaters about the safety issues they can face especially with electricity in the water.

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