MILLWOOD -- Recent reports on the history of accidental drownings in the Kokosing River near Millwood have brought a lot of response from readers and a resolution from officials to increase the signage in the area to help warn people about the dangers of the river as it enters the hills of eastern Knox County and becomes turbulent beneath the surface.
For Shilah Kelly of Nashville, in Holmes County, it's good to hear about the signs, though frustrating, too.
“I think some of that should have been done a long time ago,” she said. “It's too bad it takes so long to get stuff done.”
For Shilah, it's a quarter century too late. On July 10, 1994, Shilah's little brother, Aulston Meyers, drowned near Millwood when he was wading in the Kokosing River with Shilah's then-husband, Matthew.
Like so many other tragic cases, Aulston slipped over a sudden, steep drop-off in the river bed and was pulled down by the current when he was unable to return to solid ground. It took searchers 24 hours to find the boy. He was only 13 years old.
In addition to the immediate and long-lasting grief of losing a beloved family member, Shilah developed a fear of unknown waters.
“I was an avid swimmer, and I still am,” she said, “but I won't swim anywhere unless I can see the bottom.”
In addition to the new warning signage, which she welcomes, Shilah suggested that it would be respectful — and serve as a different kind of warning to potential waders and swimmers — if there was a sign or memorial to all the people who have lost their lives in the area over the years.