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Earlier this week, our community lost a rising star and a great person. Brian Velez, the charismatic, smart, and hard-working outreach coordinator for Bike SGV and the co-host of SGV Connect here on Streetsblog LA, passed away peacefully in his sleep Tuesday night.

Brian was a near lifelong resident of Baldwin Park, a graduate of University of La Verne, and dedicated his life to helping improve communities in the San Gabriel Valley and the rest of the world. The only time he wasn't living locally was when he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala as a Health Training Facilitator, helping young mothers and their children. He loved his hometown, he loved bikes, he loved art, he loved helping people. I'll miss him like crazy and am mourning not just who he was, but everything that could have come next for a person with his skills, drive, and heart.

I knew Brian for less than a year. About two days into our search for a broadcast partner for SGV Connect, Bike SGV Executive Director Wes Reutimann suggested I talk to Brian. Based on his resume and phone interview, we hired Brian, and I got to talk to him once a week on the phone until his passing. However, we only met in person once--a chance encounter at the Firecracker 5k in Chinatown where I was running with my kids and he was staffing Gabe the Sasquatch.

I know Brian's family and the entire community of BikeSGV, a community Brian helped build, is hurting and mourning now. Please join me in wishing them well.

For more on Brian, information on the scholarship being created in his name, and an October 15th memorial ride, visit Bike SGV.

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