DALLAS -- There is no doubt 13-year-old Ethan Vasquez was loved.
His funeral at Lakeside Baptist Church in East Dallas was an overflowing celebration of his life, filled with laughs, tears and stories of how creative, generous and loving the seventh grader was.
“Me and Sandy joked all the time that he was a little old man in a 13-year-old body," Victor Vasquez said.
Laughter mingled with tears when Ethan's father remembered a boy who was precocious, playful and bursting with potential.
“That’s how special he was,” said Victor Vasquez. “That’s how much I loved him.”
On Thursday his family took the time to thank emergency crews that tried to save Ethan's life; the multiple police agencies that have supported the Vasquez family, as well as Ethan's school, from the very beginning of the funeral to the end.
News 8's cameras were rolling outside the church as police officers from Garland, Dallas, Segoville, Highland Park, and Cedar Hill lined in formation. Vasquez's father, Victor, has been an officer with the Cedar Hill Police Department for more than 20 years.
Discreetly, and in the ultimate show of respect, friends and family formed a human barrier to shield prying eyes from the boy's casket.
In the few quiet moments before Ethan's very public memorial, his mother, Sandy, who was critically injured in the crash that killed her son, was overcome with emotion.
Ethan cousins and his father laughed, cried and reminded everyone that Ethan's short time spent on Earth will not be forgotten.
Ethan's brother, Christian, struggled to make sense of it all.
“I find myself asking this question: Where was God during all of this?” he said.
But he was unwavering in expressing his love for Ethan.
“I’m so proud to be his brother, always and forever,” he said.
Ethan's school, William B. Travis Vanguard and Academy in Dallas, started a memorial fund to help offset the cost of his funeral. It was just one of many kind gestures his family was deeply thankful for.
“As hard and as difficult as this is,” Victor Vasquez said, “we’re going to make it through this.”
And they will do it with the support of so many touched by Ethan's life.