On a clear spring Sunday afternoon in 2005, 13-year-old Brandon Sandvos and a friend were fishing at a farm pond near Kelso, Mo. Though not a strong swimmer, Brandon jumped from a homemade raft to retrieve a paddle. His 11-year-old friend on the bank never saw him come back to the surface.

The friend ran to a nearby house to call for help. Brandon's body was recovered in 9 feet of water four hours later.

Many agencies involved in rescue responded to the call. A short time after Brandon's death, his family donated his life insurance money to help the emergency responders buy equipment for water search and rescue.

The Cape Girardeau Fire Department bought diving equipment. The Scott City Fire Department acquired a rescue boat. The Scott County Sheriff Department used its donation to get a Drug Abuse Resistance Education program going. Students at nine schools are now benefiting from the DARE program.

The New Hamburg-Benton-Commerce Fire Protection District received a donation as did a cousin of Brandon's. That donation will go toward college tuition.

With its donation, Brandon's school New Hamburg outfitted a research room with two computers with Internet access.

So many already have benefited from this family's benevolence in the name of their son. We hope the possibility that someone's life will someday be saved because of these donations provides some solace.