Scholarship created in memory of Oscar Gonzalez

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BREWSTER – Oscar Gonzalez affected the lives of many in the greater Brewster area in a myriad of ways.
Gonzalez, whose 15th birthday was days away, tragically died on Labor Day evening after drowning in Lake Tonetta in the Town of Southeast.
On Sunday, more than 100 people gathered at the Brewster VFW Hall where post members and the Brewster Lions Club hosted a breakfast that acted as a fundraiser for the Oscar Gonzalez Memorial Safe Swim Scholarship.
While guests dined on a menu consisting of omelets, waffles, pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, baked goods, oatmeal, juice, milk, coffee and tea, attendees raised funds for the scholarship that is being organized through the Wings Over Water swimming school in Southeast, Green Chimneys School and the Brewster Elks Club.
Oscar was remembered as a special young man whose life ended much too soon.
“I am heartbroken,” said Norma Pereira, who privately tutored Oscar in her English as a Second Language classes. “Oscar was well liked, a wonderful student, a caring boy who I know would have become someone very special. His death was such a tragedy.”
A teacher in the Brewster District described Oscar as a “great kid. He had such potential. Oscar was a gentleman at the age of 14. I will never forget him.”
Oscar died shortly after he and a group of teenagers went swimming off a private community beach adjacent to Shore Drive in Southeast.  The sheriff’s office said Oscar and three friends were paddle-boating when the craft overturned and the young man disappeared in the water.
While the Brewster school district was devastated by the tragic death, even members of the emergency services community were distraught by the sudden passing of a young man in his prime. Commissioner of Emergency Services Ken Clair called the incident a “horrific tragedy. The boy was well liked in and out of school. We continue to pray for his family. Hopefully this scholarship will prevent others from meeting a similar fate by learning how to swim.”