Family of local man honors his memory by helping needy students

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TOLEDO (WTVG) - A local family is mourning the loss of a loved one by helping some young students in northwest Ohio. Sebastian Guerrero died last year in a tragic accident along I-75.

Guerrero had been out celebrating his 21st birthday just before he was killed. His family has now established a scholarship fund in his memory.

The Sebastian Guerrero Memorial Scholarship Fund has been started at Educare Academy. There are 11 Educare schools around the Toledo area, and the vast majority of the students live well below the poverty level. The scholarship dollars will be used for things like free tutoring and a lending library.

Sebastian would have turned 22 today. His mother Crissy says the world lost a wonderful man, "He was one of a kind. He had a heart of gold and he loved life."

Sebastian was on the way home from celebrating his birthday last year when he got out of his car to work on a flat tire. Police say Sebastian stepped into traffic and was hit. His aunt Alicia Garza says the pain has not dulled,"It doesn't get easier. It's a nightmare you want to wake up from, but unfortunately it's our reality now."

But Alicia says mixed with the family's tears and pain are happy memories of a man who loved children, especially his young son, "My thing for Sebastian is to keep his name alive. I want everybody to know him and what he stood for."

Sebastian was a member of the 180th Fighter Wing. His family says he returned from a tour of duty overseas just weeks before he died.
Now family and friends are working to turn some of their grief into good with a scholarship fund for students at Educare. Kelly Latz is the Community Outreach Manager for Educare,"We have 11 locations and we serve about 1,700 children. 86% Of those children live 200% below the poverty level."

Those children will now have extra help in the classroom. Crissy says everything from supplies to academic enrichment activities will be purchased through the fund, "It means everything to me to be able to set up this fund, everything, because I miss him so much. Just to have his name live on and to help people. He helped everybody,. He had a big heart, he would give you the shirt off his back " And now his family will carry on that legacy by working to give a lot of extra help to these young students.

The family unveiled a billboard in Sebastian's memory Wednesday afternoon near Lagrange and Manhattan. They also released balloons at his grave. There will be a number of events to raise money for the scholarship fund, one of them will be on Memorial Day this year.

If you'd like to learn more about the scholarship fund or make a donation, you're asked to call Educare at (419) 704-2009. We've also posted a link.