NORTHAMPTON - Donidra Guzman wants people to remember her son, Dominic LaTorre, as a happy child.
The 4-year-old Dominic was swimming in the Great Sacandaga Lake at the Northampton Beach state campground, in the southern Adirondacks, on Sunday when he drowned.
Authorities said Guzman's son was swimming with his friends when he was separated from them and was reported missing at 4:55 p.m.
The child was found after a subsequent search.
A lifeguard began resuscitation efforts and the child was rushed to Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville, but the child died.
Guzman said family and friends are beginning the celebration of the brief life the Amsterdam boy enjoyed.
"He liked to do exactly what he was doing. He loved the beach," Guzman said. "He woke up every morning asking to go to the beach. He was an outgoing, energetic boy. He would put a smile on anyone's face."
The LaTorre and Guzman families will host a benefit for Dominic from 4 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday at Shuttleworth Park in Amsterdam. There will be a moment of silence at 5 p.m. followed by a candlelight vigil.
There will also be a Chinese auction, a 50/50 raffle and food-and-drink tickets available for purchase. Proceeds will benefit the family.
Family friend Donna Pettit Williams also set up a website for donations for funeral costs at www.gofundme.com/wiegg.
As of this morning, 17 people had donated $630 of the $5,000 goal.
Williams remembers Dominic the same way his mother does.
"He was a very outgoing, rambunctious, just all- around loving boy," she said. "He liked to just swim. He didn't really have a fear of swimming. The (family) frequented that beach and others two or three times a week."
She said she heard the call about the drowning on her scanner.
"My daughter called me and said, 'Would you please come down to the hospital?'" Williams said. "I just grabbed my keys and prayed all the way to the hospital. He was such a charming little man. He's going to be missed. He was small, but he would light up anyone's world. He was a beautiful boy."
Authorities said the child was under the care of his aunt when the drowning occurred. The child was swimming in an authorized swimming area, but no lifeguard monitors that part of the beach.
Fulton County District Attorney said authorities are still investigating the drowning.
John Borgolini is a reporter for the Leader-Herald newspaper of Gloversville.