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Kevin Alexander Mendes dos Santos was born into a family of one sibling, his brother William. Later, his younger brother, Steven, came along. Since a very early age, Kevin was a very sensitive and caring soul, always able to make others feel comfortable, accepted, valuable, of worth and loved. His loving ability to make others feel more sure of themselves and capable of doing good things was his own trademark. Kevin came to Utah with his family when his father came to pursue Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Having been raised in Europe until the age of 12, he faced the challenge of learning a different language and culture. He grew up in a family of multicultural members; his own maternal grandfather was British. Kevin had the opportunity of living in England for awhile where he attended school with his brother William. With these experiences, Kevin was keen on accepting others and understanding the value of each individual and the worth of each nation.
Kevin was 15 when he passed away in a tragic crash on his way to Salt Lake City for a soccer game. His friends had pleaded with him to go, as he was a very promising soccer player. He woke up on the morning of August 2, 2008, his parent’s wedding anniversary day, and got ready for the game. The trip ended just a mile from his home on I-15.
After his passing, quite a few of his friends spoke of Kevin’s characteristic of brightening their days with just his smile. Kevin was always willing to help anyone in need, even without being asked. He was always very keen on excusing people’s faults even without them excusing themselves. He saw people for who they truly were. Kevin grew up to be a very strong young man, in the sense of upholding principles of justice and peace, always in his relationships with other young men and young women to strive to maintain and defend peace.
The emotional trauma that we as parents, brothers, family away in Europe and friends suffered is indescribable. No words in any language can properly define what we all felt. Kevin was taken from us abruptly, with no warning signs, no time to prepare ourselves, and no goodbyes. No one can replace Kevin, so when we hold a life in our hands we should be aware that we are holding someone else’s treasure.
If there is something we can ask from you reading these words about a young man that you have never met, it is that you will be willing, as he was, to truly think of others first, their worth, their value, their future that can be interrupted by a careless little second. On Kevin’s behalf, as a mother, I dare to ask from you to think of others first, serve others, do good and live well. Honor your life by honoring the lives of others.