Funeral services were held Thursday morning for a 7-year-old boy who died while trying pull his friend from a Mesa canal last week.
A funeral Mass was said in honor of Aldo Rubio at 10 a.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church on Power Road in Mesa.
A fund has been set up to help pay for the boy's funeral arrangements. They are being accepted at Bank of America under account number 457017343264.
Earlier this week, a large group of volunteers brought over a Christmas tree and decorated it for the Rubio family.
Since their son Aldo died, the family had not gotten around to buying a tree.
The volunteers also decorated the family's home and front yard with Christmas lights, one of Aldo's favorite parts of the holiday.
"Everyday he would ask me, 'When are we going to put up our Christmas lights?'," recalled Laura Rubio, Aldo's sister.
A dive team found the boy's body in murky canal waters on December 11th, nearly 18 hours after Aldo first went missing.
"This is love. This is the holiday season. We want the family to know we're here for them," said Lisa Emmett, one of organizers of the event.
"I'm just so grateful so many neighbors came out. This is a miracle to me," added Harmony Turley, another organizer.
At one point this week, Aldo's father went for a walk by himself to the canal where his son died. The canal is not far from the family's Mesa home.
At the canal, Aldo's father talked to his son and told him the house was decorated just the way he would have liked it.
"He just went to the canal and told Aldito that the house is what he dreamed it to be. All decorated thanks to all these people," family member Angelica Montanez said.
Neither Emmett or Turley knew the Rubio family. They just felt compelled to help after hearing Aldo's story.
According to Mesa Police Department spokesperson Steve Berry, Aldo was one of four boys playing near the canal Thursday afternoon at Ellsworth Road and University Drive when the accident happened.
An 11-year-old boy apparently fell into the water and Aldo jumped into the canal to try to help the boy.
Berry said the 11-year-old was able to get out of the water on his own, but Aldo never resurfaced.
"That's really brave of him," said Blanco Rubio, another cousin of Aldo. "He didn't realize the consequences. He's seven."
"They first told us they found his shirt and his shoe and then they just told us that they found him," said Jennifer Montanez, a cousin of Rubio's. "It's sad. He was just 7 years old."
An adult who saw the 11-year-old running down a street in wet clothes stopped the boy and asked him what was wrong. When the child explained the story, the adult called 9-1-1, Berry said.
Police, firefighters and Sheriff's deputies spent several hours late Thursday looking for the missing 7-year-old.
By 7:30 p.m. crews scaled back search efforts until the morning because of limited light.
Some family members criticized the decision to call off the search overnight.
"They said excuses about it was dark and it was cold and that's not an excuse to stop a search for a child," Blanco complained.
Meanwhile, Mesa Public Schools officials said counselors were made available to students and staff members.
Spokeswoman Kathy Bareiss said in an e-mail that, "Aldo is a "fabulous" kid who showed great concern for others. He always had a smile on his face and had a great imagination. He enjoyed sports, especially baseball."
Reproduced with permission from:
©Copyright 2009 The E.W. Scripps Co.
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