SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) — Hundreds turned out at the Santa Monica Pier Thursday evening for a memorial to honor the more than 30 killed in the Labor Day fire that devastated the dive community.
Tonight, the sound of a bagpipe filled the air – during a procession along the coastline. CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Jeff Nguyen was there.
Many in attendance knew the 34 people who were killed.
Among the victims was 51-year old Marybeth Guiney – a sales director who lived in Santa Monica.
Her friend Marisusan Trout say Guiney volunteered to be a bartender at a fundraiser at her house – even though Guiney had an injured leg.
“Like whatever she can do to help out. There was no excuses. She’s just stellar,” says Trout,
On Guiney’s Facebook page. she showcased her love for the ocean and diving.
Guiney was also a volunteer for Heal the Bay – which organized tonight’s event for the woman who left a lasting impression.
“She’s so low key. I mean her spirit was just constant. She was not showy. She didn’t do it for any – like this is what I’m doing for the world. She did it because she really cared about people,” says Trout.
44-year old Charles McIlvain — who friends called Chuck — was also remembered.
He had worked as visual effects designer for Walt Disney Imagineering.
He was also from Santa Monica and his Facebook page was filled with his love for the ocean and diving.
“The diving community is small so even if you’re not connected to anyone who is affected, you are connected in some way,” says diver Ronny Bentzin.
And while many here didn’t know the souls lost personally – mourners say you never know whose life you can touch by just showing up.
“I just put my hand on a lady that was standing next to me that I never knew but I saw she was in a lot of pain. And she was. Her friend of 24 years died. And it was nice to be there for anybody,” says Sandra Frankes.
Mourners were asked to bring a flashlight as a symbol of solidarity for the dive community – and radiant illuminated spirits like Marybeth Guiney.
“If this wasn’t about her. And somebody else, she would be down here for whoever this was,” says Trout.
A second vigil was held in Long Beach Thursday evening — this vigil was organized by the Deep Blue Scuba Center.