VENICE ( — Friends, family and even strangers Monday remembered a 20-year-old man killed by lightning in Venice last year.

Loved ones of Nick Fagnano gathered on the sand at 2:30 p.m., the moment he was struck by lightning one year ago.

It was the first of two planned services in his memory.

“Thank you for the life of Nick, who reminds us to do better, to take the right steps in life, to include others and to celebrate life,” one man said, encircled by a group of people gathered in the shape of a heart.

Nick’s mother, Mary Fagnano, said her son was “Taken to heaven by a flash in a cloud, this beautiful young man, who radiated joy, kindness, humor and love touched the lives of everyone he encountered. He had a maturity and wisdom that was beyond his years, yet an innocence of spirit that was evident from kindergarten all the way into his adult life.”

“There is a whole in our heart that will never completely be full,” she told CBS2/KCAL9 at the afternoon memorial. “And it’s there with us all the time.”

Nick’s family last year started the Nick Fagnano Foundation, helping to raise money for students, charities and those in need.

“It’s helping others, helping young people, that keeps us going,” Nick’s father, Jay Fagnano, said. “And to be surrounded by all these people. And to know that they collectively wrap their arms around us, helps us.”

A candlelight vigil is scheduled for sunset.

Nick Fagnano was one of 13 victims of the lightning strikes at Venice Beach last year. His case marked the only fatality.