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Christmas Day hero’s legacy lives on

Veteran Claro “Bhoy” O. Claridad was remembered on the 10th anniversary of him sacrificing his life to save the lives of two children on Christmas Day.

Judith Claridad said she honored the life of her husband, Claro, with her family by collecting and distributing warm clothing to the High Desert Homeless Services shelter in Victorville just in time for Christmas.

“My daughters and I delivered four large boxes of jackets and gloves for the young people,” said Claridad a teaching assistant at a local charter school. “”My girls also baked and delivered 50 Christmas cupcakes for the shelter.”

The Claridad family’s “Christmas Hero: Warmth & Love” project, which began last summer, included collecting warm clothing in honor of Claro Claridad, 41, who sacrificed his life by saving two children who fell through ice-covered Jackson Lake near Wrightwood on Christmas Day 2007.

The Army veteran rushed away from his family to jump into the freezing lake when he saw the young girls fall into the water. After pulling them out to safety, he was unable to get himself out of the lake. He suffered hypothermia and was later pronounced deceased at Desert Valley Hospital.

Nearly five years ago, San Bernardino County Fire officials and the Wrightwood community presented the Claridad family with a plaque and memorial bench honoring Claro, a native of Manila, who graduated from Chaffey College and served his country.

“People have called Claro ‘a hero’ for what he did, and we agree,” said Claridad, whose daughters include Careena, Cariah, Carlene and Carlisle, all of Victorville. “This was our way of honoring Claro’s memory.”

During the visit to the shelter on Saturday, the Claridad family met with shelter officials as they distributed the clothing, shared a meal, prayed and “spread the love of Christmas,” Claridad said.

Her oldest daughter, Careena, said the 10 year anniversary of the loss of her father was “bittersweet.” Cariah said she still misses him after a decade, and Carlene and Carlisle said they were so young when they lost their father and they are moving on with life.”

The Claridad family credits Alpha Omega Fitness, C.A.R.S. Body Shop and the community for helping to collect the clothing that was distributed to the shelter.

The Claridads also thanked the High Desert Phoenix Foundation of Apple Valley for their support.

“Thanking you community for supporting us and spreading the true meaning of Christmas just like how Claro did on Christmas 2007,” Claridad said. “His legacy continues on.”


©2017 Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.