LOS ANGELES - At least 200 people packed a room Friday at Children's Hospital Los Angeles to pay tribute to a Monrovia couple who drowned at Lake Havasu during a vacation.
The family members of Raul and his wife Esmeralda Gonzalez were part of the large group in attendance for the memorial. Raul, 44, spent 11 years working for Children's Hospital Los Angeles as a blood donor recruiter.
He and Esmeralda, 41, were boating on Lake Havasu on July 21 when Esmeralda decided to go for a swim without a life vest. She began struggling in the water and Raul jumped in to save her, but both of them drowned.
The couple had been married for two years. Their 6-month-old and 9-year-old daughters were on the boat along with a family friend during the incident.
Those who worked with Raul at CHLA said he inspired countless families and never stopped giving to others.
"He came to CHLA and secured blood for thousands of children when they needed it. At the same time, he developed friendships with the children in the hospital, inspired families to stay strong and was glue in the blood donor center," Dr. Ajay Perumbeti said.
Raul is also survived by four adult children and six grandchildren.
Funeral services for the couple are still being arranged.
A GoFundMe account was set up to help the family pay for funeral expenses. If you would like to donate you may do so by clicking on gofundme.com/raul-and-esmeraldas-services.