Andre DeRouen Jr.’s personality and humility shone as he took his last breath saving his brother from drowning, but he could not save himself.
“That speaks volume to the type of person he was,” said his grieving mother Latasha DeRouen.
Two weeks from DeRouen Jr.’s 19th birthday, he dove into a pond behind his home to rescue his 15 year-old brother who had fallen in. Neither could swim, and panic took them both down. The accident happened in late March.
DeRouen Jr. graduated from Hitchcock High school and played both baseball and football. He was named district’s most valuable defensive player in baseball his senior year. He attended Galveston College with a scholarship to play baseball with the Whitecaps as a red-shirt freshman.
“Andre brought so much joy to everyone around him. He will be missed by everyone who knew him,” said Chris Joblin, Head Coach of the Whitecaps.
Although I didn’t know Andre personally, he was my cousin’s best friend, and I know his brother Desmond DeRouen who is also my younger cousin’s best friend, and is a freshman at Hitchcock high school.
“He was great!” said Isaiah Martin, one of Andre’s best friends. “Always the hardest worker, an inspiration to everyone he met.”
He continued, “Andre’s passing has educated me on the value of the present. While many of us focus on the past (memories) and future (plans), we fail to truly grasp the delicate nature of the passing moments of the present. We never know when God will call us home. Always value your loved ones as you never know if you’re seeing them for the last time.”
According to the Center of Disease Control, every year there are 3,536 unintentional drownings in the U.S. and every day, 10 people die from drowning in the U.S.
In 2014, the Red Cross launched an anti-drowning campaign and conducted a survey and discovered more than half of all Americans (54%) either can’t swim or don’t know all the basic swimming skills. To learn more about how you can help, go to http://www.redcross.org/news/article/co/denver/Red-Cross-Launches-Anti-Drowning-Campaign
“If you see someone who is drowning and start panicking, make sure you remain calm, reassure them they’ll be fine, because if you freak out, they’ll freak out even more, and maybe even start to sink,” said Junior Faith Schmoker who is also a Certified Lifeguard, and a swim instructor for Sigma Swimming.
DeRouen Jr.’s coaches willingly discuss the man and athlete he was. To learn more about he and his family, go to http://abc13.com/18-year-old-drowned-rescuing-his-younger-brother–/3265134/
“We are just devastated by the news and he was just a great athlete for us,” said Hitchcock High School football coach Craig Smith. “He was loved by everyone. It’s just really horrible.”
It is always hard hearing stories about promising young people passing away too soon. However DeRouen Jr.’s love and compassion to sacrifice his life to save his younger brother will be something never forgotten.
by Joshua Fontenot