Every day, a parent loses a child. Whether by a disease such as cancer or leukemia, or through suicide or a tragic traffic collision, the child leaves a void that a parent will never be able to completely fill.


While it is totally understandable that the best some parents can do is just get through life one day at a time, some soon realize that the best for them and the memory of their lost children is to turn the tragedy into something positive, as hard as that must seem. Perhaps the most famous example is John Walsh, the father of a 6-year-old boy who was snatched from a mall and murdered. As a result, Walsh became the host of "America's Most Wanted" and is known for his anti-crime activism.


Locally, Thurston "Smitty" Smith, who serves as Hesperia's mayor pro tem, and his wife Margaret lost their son Brandon, a popular, charismatic 19-year-old who died a year ago doing what he absolutely loved to do - compete in an offroad race. Needless to say, it's been a tough year for the couple, but they decided to channel their energy into serving their community. Most importantly, they set up the Brandon E. Smith Memorial Scholarship fund. Thanks to the Smiths and countless friends and supporters, the fund grew to $20,000. Last week, Smitty announced the Bernard and Barbara Osher Foundation was providing a matching grant, which will take the fund to more than $30,000 by next year.


And a portion of that money already has gone to help someone else. Brandi Howlett, a 2007 graduate of Sultana High School, received a $500 scholarship, which will help her work toward a college degree.


Through tragedy, the Smiths have found a silver lining. Sounds like the kind of thing their son Brandon would have done.