With Monday marking July 1 st, many people already thinking about their 4 th of July celebrations.
"The 4 th of July weekend, I come down here, down the lake all the time," said one man. Another woman, Sunny Trumble, said she's planning on a family cook-out. Deno Smith, from Cleveland agreed saying, "-go to the beach, have parties, fireworks … the whole nine yards. "
No matter your plans though, one parent is encouraging everyone to think of their future this holiday. Why, because Michael Nahas' own daughter died celebrating during a 4 th of July weekend.
"I did not know she was going to get on that boat … she definitely was not a swimmer," said Nahas.
But three years ago on July 8 th, then 20-year-old Emma Nahas got on a yacht on Lake Erie with several people. Police described an alcohol-infused party going on when authorities said Emma jumped into the water with another. Her body was discovered eleven days later.
Michael Nahas said, "It was horrible, it's probably, it's definitely the worst thing that's ever happened in my life. "
Nahas described his daughter as a responsible student, volleyball player even, but said alcohol changed everything. At the time of her drowning, Michael said his daughter was about three times the legal limit. To parents, he warns today to have that conversation again and again with your children.
Nahas told NewsChannel5 he never allowed underage drinking and added complications with Emma's mother had to do with Nahas not knowing Emma's whereabouts.
On the topic of underage drinking, Nahas still said, "I think it's tough for children to resist that type of life-style, the drinking, the boating, the fun, the outdoor fun, you know it looks like fun. Budweiser has commercials, everybody, Miller, everybody – they look like they're having a blast. But um, kids don't realize their … they don't realize what alcohol does, how it affects them. "
Describing his pain after his daughter's death, Nahas said, "People say, ‘Well remember the memories, the good things and stuff. ' I'd rather not remember the memories. I'd rather have her here in person sharing that with her. "
Nahas discussed several other issues and complications surrounding his daughter's drowning but one of the things he said he wished, was that Emma was with friends that July 8th and not who he described as strangers.
He hopes those celebrating the holiday will make sure to do that: surround themselves with friends and family.