About three dozen people gathered on the Fresno State campus and lit candles in to honor the life of 27-year old Phillip Johnson.
“He was everything to me. He was a big brother, a role model, a best friend,” said Tasha Firestone.
Last Sunday, Johnson drowned while swimming with friends at Millerton Lake. He was both a Fresno State student and an employee at Valley Teen Ranch, an organization which helps troubled children get on the right track.
Tasha Firestone met him five years ago when they worked together at Boomers, the family entertainment center.
“I wouldn’t be the same person if I never met him, I bettered myself,” said Firestone.
William Maciel, who also worked at Boomers, calls Johnson an amazing friend.
“But he was more than that. He was there to be a role model. He didn’t even know it at times, but just being the way he was with people, always having your back, it just translated into what you wanted to do and how you wanted to be a good person,” William Maciel.
The devastating loss of Johnson has led his friends to embrace life.
“Make time for those who are close to you, who you love. Always be there for them because you never know what’s going to happen,” said Firestone.
Johnson’s hometown was Los Angeles. He was laid to rest there on Saturday.