Joel Gallegos recounted the joyous moments he had with his son Dominick in the boy’s short life. He told the community at the Colton First Assembly Church last Thursday that his only son was always eager to make people happy.
“He was such a good boy,” Gallegos said with tears in his eyes. “[God] gave us the best possible son he could give us. We’re going to miss you mijo. Everyday, but we’ll see you again.”
Dominick Gallegos, 12, collapsed and died on the grounds of Ulysses S. Grant Elementary School the afternoon of April 12. San Bernardino County Coroner’s officials ruled that the sixth-grade student passed away from natural causes due to an enlarged heart. In the last two weeks residents in Colton have gathered to hold vigils and fundraiser events in support of the Gallegos family.
That support was once again on display as approximately 500 people filled Colton First Assembly to hear Dominick’s siblings and friends speak during the two hour funeral about the avid athlete’s humor and ability to put a smile on anyone’s family.
“He always made a lasting impression on everyone, everywhere he went,” said his older sister Illisa, 20. “Whenever I would come home from school he would come into check on me and say he loved me. It’s the little things I will miss about him. ”
His close friends Omar Valdez and Bryce Martinez recalled memories of Dominick cheering them up and motivating them on numerous occasions.
“The gates were locked, we had to jump a fence,” said Martinez. “Dominick’s pants got stuck and ripped his pants. He thought it was funny and wore those pants at every practice.”
“I remember the first time we met in Kindergarten,” said Valdez. “He came straight towards me and said, ‘Hey what’s your name?’ I told him my name and he said, ‘Whoa, that’s a weird name.’ After that we became best friends.”
Joel said the first few days after his son’s death have been difficult for him and his wife Charmaine.
“I went to his room and cried and cried,” he said. “We both realized that the Lord has a plan. He knew what Dominick’s plan was. He knew Dominick would be only with us for a short amount of time. He gave Dominick so much love that he could spread around.”
Resident Robert Calderilla, who grew up with Charmaine and coached Dominick on several teams, said he is sad that the young boy is, “no longer with us.”
“Dominick was a very happy kid, and a pretty good ball player,” said Calderilla. “He was willing to play anywhere and do anything.”