Caden Satterfield was an avid archer, loved his Ford Mustang, and wanted to go to college to become a radiologist.
“He had big dreams,” said Ashlee Payton, his mother.
Those dreams were cut short last week when Satterfield, 17, died at the University of Florida Health Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville.
While on vacation with his family in Daytona Beach, the Meade County High School senior, his three siblings and a friend got caught in a riptide, a strong current.
According to a Facebook post made by his stepfather, Steve Payton, “Caden knew what was happening and in his pure selfless nature pushed Reagan (his younger sister) toward the shore. This heroic action moved Reagan away from the swift current but unfortunately pushed him more into harm’s way.”
“This defines exactly who he was. He was full of love and always wore a smile. Anyone that knows him well will tell you when he entered a room the whole atmosphere changed around you,” he wrote.
“To only be 17-years-old and be adored by so many people tells you just how outgoing he was. You will be dearly missed. We love you and you are a HERO!”
All but Satterfield were pulled from the water unharmed. In a Facebook post Friday, Ashlee Payton in part wrote, “Caden earned his wings at 6:07 p.m. We are heartbroken and devastated but he has been welcomed with open arms.”
Satterfield was on course to graduate this year from Meade County High School after completing the Automotive Career Pathway. While in school, he participated with the MCHS Archery Team.
His father, Brian Satterfield, in a Facebook post, wrote in part, “ ... My life was forever changed again. Caden tragically passed away at the too-soon age of 17 years. I will forever be lost without you buddy. Love you always.”
In another Facebook post, Kim Slayton Dunn wrote, “17 years ago you made me a Grammy for the first time. My life was changed forever the day you were born. I never knew a love could run so deep for a grandchild until you gave that to me. ... Your 17 years have been the best part of our lives. We are so heart broken right now, but I know you are dancing in heaven.”
Satterfield also worked at the Towne Mall McDonald’s in Elizabethtown as a crew trainer.
“He loved working for McDonald’s, never met a stranger,” Ashlee Payton said.
Tiffani Johnson, general manager Towne Mall McDonald’s, said Satterfield had only worked with them for about 10 months, “but it feels like we’ve known him forever.”
“Caden was selfless, kind, always willing to help others. He made us laugh and always had the biggest smile on his face. When Caden started with us he was a young shy person and it was so neat to see him become more comfortable, confident and grow. He became a leader and a light for those around him,” she said.
“Everybody loved Caden because of the person he was. People looked up to Caden, this is another reason he became a leader and was promoted to crew trainer.”
Johnson said when they heard about the accident, they all felt shaken and uneasy. She said everybody’s hearts were broken.
“After the news of Caden passing we immediately felt we lost a member of our family, his presence not being here is a loss for us and it will never be the same,” she said.
In memory of Satterfield, Johnson said they would like to plant a special tree at their Towne Mall location.
“It will surely put a smile on our face every time we see it,” she said.
Brooke Cox, area supervisor, said McDonald’s may look big to most people, but to them, inside each of their restaurants is a family.
“We are family owned and operated and family is at the core of everything we do. We get to know one another, depend on each other and consider it a big blessing to always be there to lift each other up especially in a time of need,” Cox said. “We make it through these challenging times because we come together, pray together and do all we can to help. There is heart behind the arches.”
Among Satterfield’s survivors are his parents, Ashlee Payton and her husband, Steve, of Vine Grove, and Brian Satterfield and his wife, Lauren, of Elizabethtown, and three siblings, Corey, Caylee, and Reagan Payton.
Funeral services will be held privately for Satterfield’s immediate family, because of COVID-19 capacity restrictions. The service will be streamed on the Hager Funeral Home Facebook page, at 11 a.m. Thursday. Graveside services will be held at approximately 12:15 p.m. from Buck Grove Cemetery, with Brother Phil Slayton officiating.
A public visitation is from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Hager Funeral Home in Brandenburg.