Los Angeles

In SoCal, friends descended upon Venice Beach to pick up litter and celebrate nature 

On what was truly a perfect December day in Los Angeles, a group of friends old and new gathered at the Venice Pier in the memory of Tyler Lorenzi. Armed with trash bags and rubber gloves, we took to the beach. Because there was not a cloud in the sky, we were on the beach in December, and Ty’s spirit was all around us, everyone instantly started to pal around, making a game out of picking up dead birds, condom wrappers, cigarette butts, and some of the other fine offerings found on the shores of Venice Beach. After doing our best to ensure that the beach was spotless (or at least a bit cleaner), we headed to a local bar to share a couple beers and remember that life really is good. With beers and French fries in hand and the sun and ocean at our backs, we raised our glasses to toast the day and our dear friend.

Perhaps my favorite moment of the day was while cleaning the beach, a police truck patrolling the beach approached me. The two cops in the car stopped and asked what we were doing (turns out you should probably let authorities know before a group of twenty−somethings descend on the beach donning rubber gloves and caring giant black bags), and I replied that we were picking up trash. “For free?!” was the shocked response I got, immediately followed by, “Why?” When I explained to the officer that we were doing a day of service in memory of Tyler, I noticed both of the officers’ expressions soften. Just by looking at their faces I could tell they had realized that here was a group of young people who had joined together to do good just because it was good−not for recognition, not for payment, just to honor a friend and to have fun. I suddenly realized that not only had Ty left his mark on all his friends who had chosen to spend their Saturday helping the community, but that he had now in turn touched these two officers. Tyler will always live on as long as we continue to do good, be good, and enjoy our lives. That spirit and approach to life is what made Ty so special, and, for me at least, it is the most important thing he left behind.

−Rachel Weber

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