Chance Miller Hedgpeth

Chance Miller Hedgpeth

Parents of a 5-year-old Bozeman boy who drowned in the Hyalite Reservoir earlier this week said they were in the water playing with pool noodles when they turned around to grab another kid drifting away. The boy was gone when they looked back.

Chance Miller Hedgpeth was pronounced dead at Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital after he was pulled from the water on Wednesday. His family and other people tried resuscitating him until he was taken to the hospital, according to a Gallatin County news release.

“The family wanted to stress how this kind of thing can happen, and how important it is to keep an eye on your children at all times,” said Matt Hudak, Family Promise chair. The nonprofit works to provide shelter, meals and training to bring solutions to families in need, including the Hedgpeths, who graduated from the program.

The organization became a support system to help the family deal with the loss of their son after the incident. Dahl Funeral and Cremation Services started a fundraiser on its website to help the family pay for the boy’s funeral.

Hudak said the Bozeman family wanted to share that Hedgpeth loved learning, helping his mom cook and being a big brother. Hudak said the boy liked gardening and wanted to be a plumber like his dad.

Hudak said the family told him the boy “was pure love — there was no hate in his heart.”

Rev. Amy Strader, with Bozeman’s United Methodist Church and a nonprofit volunteer, said volunteers and churches are helping take care of things like food for the boy’s reception. She said the nonprofit is continuing its support for the family.

“The Family Promise families are well loved, and we become a part of their story,” Strader said. “We just want to wrap our love around them.”

She said she spoke to the family, and was touched by their resilience and ability to say that they won’t let this tragedy derail them.

“They know that change can happen because it’s happened before,” Strader said.

Irene Dahl, with Dahl Funeral and Cremation Services, said the funeral home set up a fundraising page to help Hedgpeth’s family pay for cremation and funeral services. She said the funeral home is chipping in for services. Any donations beyond what the funeral costs would go back to the family.

Dahl also praised the nonprofit and said it is stepping up for the family.

“There’s just so much generosity that people want to pull together and support this family in a tragic time,” she said

Funeral services are tentatively scheduled for sometime Monday afternoon at Dahl Funeral and Cremation Services, located at 300 Highland Blvd., and are open to the public. Dahl said the funeral will be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and Hulk themed.

Freddy Monares can be reached at or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.


Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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