GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A five-year-old boy nearly drowned at Joe Pool Lake Sunday afternoon, and it was a painful reminder for a family who has made it their life’s mission to prevent child drownings. The family lost of one their own in 2009.
The family’s foundation known as Bryan’s Cause honors the memory of two-year-old Byran, who often went to the lake before he passed away.
“He was a bright, young, little man. He was my heartbeat,” said Kim Jacinto, Bryan’s grandmother.
Nine years ago, Bryan died after he drowned in a neighbor’s pool. He was not wearing a life jacket.
Jacinto channeled her grief into a life-saving effort known as Bryan’s Cause.
“This to me, brings me comfort. It brings me peace, and it’s the way that I grieve, I guess. It brings me joy in my heart,” said Jacinto.
Jacinto and her daughter, LeahAnn Dodge, hand out loaner life jackets and teach families about water safety.
“It feels so good to see all of the life jackets with Bryan’s name on them. It warms my heart. It’s also really sad because it shouldn’t be this way. He should be in the water here with me. He shouldn’t just be a memory,” said Dodge.
Memories of the tragic loss returned Sunday afternoon after a five-year-old child nearly drowned at Joe Pool Lake.
“It was like deja vu all over again,” said Dodge.
Bryan’s mother called 911, and firefighters were able to save the boy, who was not wearing a life jacket.
“When I see any little boy, I can’t help but stare. People probably think I’m weird, but I’m just staring because I can see my little boy in their little boy,” said Dodge.
Statistics show 74 children have drowned in Texas in 2018.
“Our mission is to lower the drowning statistic,” said Jacinto.
At Joe Pool Lake, Bryan’s life and legacy continue to inspire.
“As long as I am alive, I will do this until the good Lord calls me home,” said Jacinto.
Sunday was the family’s last event on the lake for the swimming season, but they will sponsor swimming lessons and continue educating year-round.