I have been dealing with immeasurable anguish, pain, a profound depth of sadness and anger over the untimely death of my son Robert, on April 15 at Hendry’s Beach. Sharing the grief with his brother, Mike, I can only say that the extremely tragic loss is indescribable. My heartfelt thanks go out to all the wonderful people, friends, Rob’s friends, and even those who don’t even know us, who have given their support, caring thoughts, and hugs. That is truly the only thing that makes this all bearable.

It is really important that the community wake up and realize that we have a problem. We must all be aware that this despicable act of cowardice and violence may well be repeated, as gangs continue to encroach into more areas of our neighborhoods, public parks, and beaches, claiming their “turf.” The safety of families, children, and anyone who wants to enjoy our public places is in jeopardy.

Perhaps a determined collective effort to keep our community safe from gangs will prevent another mother from having to go through this. The United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County has set up a fund in Rob’s name. Donations go toward programs for children six years and up, emphasizing gang prevention through education and mentoring in partnership with the schools, and by providing positive role models and character development. Checks may be made to the United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County, noting the “Robert Burke Simpson Fund” and sent to 5638 Hollister Ave., Goleta, CA 93117.


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