Friends say Keith Griffin, who was aboard El Faro when it went missing in Hurricane Joaquin last week, say that if anyone can survive the ship going down, it’s him.
Longtime friends came together to honor Griffin Tuesday night. They’ve known him since they were children growing up in Winthrop, Massachusetts.
“He's one of the strongest people I’ve ever met in my life," said Jessica Zappulla, a childhood friend. "Since we were kids, We used to joke he’s like a pit bull off a leash. He's just a go-getter and strong.”
Tuesday night at Ingleside Park in Winthrop, religious leaders and community members along with Keith’s friends prayed for a miracle.
“One of the toughest kids in town. Even at four or five-years-old, he was tougher than all the other kids. That's how I know he's going to survive,” explained Phil Boncore, Keith's t-ball and little league coach. "There's got to be hope because if he had to swim 100 miles, he'll swim 100 miles."
Keith’s wife Katie is pregnant with twins.
“I love Keith and my heart is pouring for wife and his two kids that are on their way,” said John Bradley, another childhood friend.
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Keith grew up just a stone’s throw from the vigil site. Many have warm memories of the home, and are hoping Keith will call on his days as a football player at Winthrop High School to survive.
“We were telling a story- in football, his mentality was to run over someone, not run around them," added Ron D'Amico. "If he's treating the storm anything like that, then he's going to be ok.”
Most of Keith’s family moved out of Massachusetts but he clearly has strong ties here. His football coach told necn he was a linebacker and running back, and helped mentor younger players. He was serving as an engineer on the El Faro.