Updated July 27th, 2015
A year ago today 20-year old Nick Fagnano was fatally struck by lightning on Venice Beach. The strike, which witnesses say appeared to come out of nowhere, injured 13 others.
Today, from 11am until sunset a small group of family and friends will gather on Venice Beach at the volleyball nets at Driftwood Ave., near the south end of the Washington Blvd., parking lot at Venice Pier. to celebrate Fagnano’s life.
“So many people loved Nick” said his Mother, Mary Fagnano “When he used to work at the Ace Hotel in Downtown his nickname was Sparkles – he just lit up the room”
Monday’s gathering will celebrate Fagnano and the community he created throughout his life. It will also be an opportunity to reflect on the work that is being done in the young man’s name in the areas of education and recreation through the Thrive in Joy Foundation, and also, in beach safety.
On June 30, 2015, for the first time LA Country Lifeguards closed all beaches due to lightning, a precaution instituted after last year’s lightning strike.
A traditional day of beach activities has been planned for the memorial. Including, a picnic-style lunch, and dinner for family, friends, and supporters of the Thrive in Joy Nick Fagnano Foundation.
The day will also include two special tributes. One at 2:30 p.m.: marking the approximate time of the lightning strike last year. Friends, family, and anyone who happens to be in the area and wants to join the tribute are invited to join in forming the shape of a huge heart on the beach.
Then a sunset there will be a candlelight commemoration and celebration of Nick.
Fagnano’s Mother, Mary Fagnano, says the family feel very connected to the Venice Community and invite anyone who was effected by last years incident to come and join the gathering.
Monday also marks the first anniversary of the Thrive in Joy Nick Fagnano Foundation. The charity was created by Fagnano’s parents, Mary and Jay Fagnano in order to continue their Son’s impact on the world by encouraging and rewarding character through education and recreation.
So far this year the Foundation has built an endowment in Nick’s name providing an annual scholarship for a transfer student to USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy whose mission is to “improve the quality of life for people and their communities here and abroad.”
The Foundation has also presented financial awards for outstanding character to a graduating student at Nick’s two alma maters: St. Brendan grade school in Los Angeles and Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks.
As well as providing support for two Dominican Republic projects: Collegio de Tia Tatiana, a school for preschool through high school students as well as Remar, an orphanage in one of the poorest urban communities in Santo Domingo.
The Foundation’s Dominican Republic initiatives where inspired by a charity drive for baseball equipment Fagnano had arranged when he was only 13. The young baseball fan and little leaguer was moved to action when he heard of young people in the Dominican Republic who were unable to play because they had no equipment.
Fagnano’s untimely death has brought an extended, eclectic group of family, friends, and community members together for the past year.