BAY VILLAGE, Ohio - "The way she died is the perfect display of how selfless she was," said a tearful 23-year-old Angelica Gagliardi.
Her mother, 46-year-old Laura Recco, died Wednesday morning of complications after trying to save a 9-year-old student from dangerous rip currents Monday.
Gagliardi spoke with NewsChannel5 outside of their Seven Hills home off camera, describing the type of person Recco was.
Gagliardi and her cousin said Recco taught with the Positive Education Program for more than 20 years, often working with children who have severe behavioral handicaps. Gagliardi went on to say it was her mother's love for teaching and for the students she taught, that made her want to become a teacher as well.
Family members received the news of Recco's death about three days after Monday's incident at Bay Village's Huntington Beach. Metropark Rangers said Recco was with students as part of a school trip when they got the emergency call of two in distress.
Recco's family recounted what they were told, saying the 9-year-old was swept-up by forceful currents in the water. Recco, who tried to help, was also pulled into the water as well. Rangers said when the two individuals and one lifeguard were rushed to the hospital, Recco in critical condition.
Metropark Rangers said they were on the beach before any lifeguards were on duty.
As this investigation continues, Recco's family said they know Recco did everything she could to try to save the girl. Gargliardi called her mother a hero outside of their Seven Hills home, and neighbors agreed.
"I'm not suprised (Recco went after the girl) because you know she does everything to help everybody. I understand her. She was so good. She wanted to help everybody," said Sever Guler, who lives a couple of doors down.
Guler was one of the many neighbors who stopped by to express condolences to the family.
"This is a broken heart for everybody. Nobody expected something like that."
The family is now preparing for a funeral as they wait an official investigation report.
Recco leaves behind a husband and two daughters.