On June 27, 1996, my younger brother, Edward, drowned in the ocean in Imperial Beach. At 24 he gave his life to save his ten year old niece who was caught in a rip current. Though not a strong swimmer he did not hesitate to put himself in danger to pull his niece out of the current that instead took him.

When my father was told the news he commented that Edward was too good for this world. Indeed, Edward was a kind, gentle person. Though mild mannered, he was never a pushover in standing up for what was right, but also never denigrated anyone who disagreed with him. Edward lived a life of love - not a sappy, sentimental love, but a love willing to sacrifice for the good of others. In doing so he touched many lives. Our niece is now married with three beautiful children and twice selected “nurse of the year” at the hospital where she works. Through her, other lives have been saved - Edward’s love being paid forward.

While I lived in Imperial Beach I would commemorate Edward’s life and sacrifice by lighting luminarias* along the beach the night of June 27. If you have found inspiration in his story I invite you to do the same this June 27.

Thank you and God bless you.

* a votive candle in a cuffed brown paper lunch bag weighted with sand

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