Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Kim Johnson ReportingThe Thai government organized commemorative ceremonies at six where mourners gathered to remember those who lost their lives in last year’s tsunami disaster. The Thai Prime Minister said the disaster should act as a reminder for people to live their lives cautiously. Relatives who lost loved ones left -messages and threw flowers in the sea to remember them.
A Salt Lake City family was there for that memorial service. Dr. Stu Breisch was in Thailand with his wife and three children when their lives changed forever. Some of the Breisches were out on a dive boat when the Tsunami hit, but two members of the family were on the beach in a bungalow.
Stu's son Jai survived the devastation, but 15 year old Kali did not. Stu told me he was both excited and scared to return to Thailand to observe this anniversary.
Stu Breisch: I'm excited, I'm scared, I'm sad. I'm happy to go back to be with my friends and I dread having to go back and face the truth that this is not just a bad dream."
Stu says every morning he wakes up hoping the tsunami, which claimed the life of his daughter Kali, is a bad dream, yet at the same time he recognizes a miracle that four of his family members survived.
Stu Breisch: "I don't think anyone else staying on the cove where we were, in the five hotels where we were, are alive. Four of the five of my family are alive, including me. I'm alive and I'm so grateful, I can't even tell you.”
Stu says he hopes to be able to thank people who helped his family through the ordeal, and to see again people he and his family helped.
Stu Breisch: "I wouldn't be surprised if we see some of the people that we pulled in out of the water on our dive boat. I have a feeling. Wouldn't be one bit surprised."
The Breisch’s deal with their grief by helping the Thai people help themselves. Stu says Donations and volunteers have come from all over the world to the family's foundation, 4Kali.org. The foundation sponsors orphaned children. It's vlunteers teach Thai people computer skills, English as a second language so they can get jobs, and they help build fishing boats and homes.
Stu Breisch: "The people that receive a fishing boat or a home work side by side with our carpenters and volunteers, and in the process they learn construction skills so they can then can use them to get a job that does not depend on the resorts."
Stu says knowing the foundation is making all the difference in people's lives, helps him face the one year anniversary, with it's terrible realities and outpouring of goodwill.
Stu Breisch: "Everybody gave everything they had to everybody else. It was a beautiful experience of unity and of love, unconditional love. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and it's not just about people going back there, but when that many people come together for the intention of healing, miracles can happen."