DENVER (CBS4) – “Drake idolized DT, he knew everything about DT.” – Dan Durkee, Drake’s father.

Drake Durkee attended the Demaryius Thomas camp last summer and he had planned on attending again this year, but in June the 11-year-old from Golden was tragically killed in a commercial rafting accident on the Arkansas River near Salida.

Drake Durkee (credit: CBS)

Drake Durkee (credit: CBS)

Thomas was in Atlanta, but the Broncos reached out to him to tell him what happened to one of his biggest fans.

“He sent a very nice letter to us just expressing how sad he was,” Dan Durkee said, adding the Thomas also sent flowers and asked if there was anything he could do to help the family.

Thomas also invited the Durkee family to come to his camp this year and asked Durkee to speak to the young campers about Drake. And in what might be the best summer of Thomas’ life, he made sure to spend some time with a family who’s having one of their worst.

Demaryius Thomas giving a hug to Drake Durkee's father (credit: CBS)

Demaryius Thomas giving a hug to Drake Durkee’s father (credit: CBS)

“When he came over and hugged me I said, ‘Congrats on the contract and your mother (getting out of prison).’ And he said, ‘That doesn’t matter right now, I am just so sorry for you and for Drake,’ ” Durkee said of his conversation with Thomas at the camp.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“(They) said I was his best player,” Thomas said. “(Drake) got bracelets with ‘Drake 88’ on them and that means so much to me. I will wear it forever I think, and what really touched me was they told me he was buried in my 88 jersey.”

And now Drake and DT will be connected in another way, as Thomas has renamed one of the camp awards in Drake’s honor.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“He was a courageous kid and this will live on,” said Dan Durkee. “And he won’t be forgotten and one of the kids from camp that does a great job has the right attitude and is a good teammate will receive that award in Drake’s name every year.”

Mark Haas is CBS4’s weekend sports anchor and sports reporter. Read his bio or follow him on Twitter @markhaastv or on Facebook.

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