PORTAGE | Joshua Rocha, of Hobart, hopes people never forget his father, Gabriel Rocha.
Rocha, of Portage, was killed in a steam explosion at Burns Harbor ArcelorMittal steel plant in 2011. He was 53. According to his son, Gabriel had many passions in his life but among his most important were education and athletics.
In 2012, the Gabriel Rocha Foundation was formed, a not-for-profit organization to help the local community. The mission of the foundation is to improve the quality of life for youth through sports, academics and medical assistance.
Last year, the foundation held its inaugural Gabriel Rocha Memorial Golf Outing benefiting the Shriners Hospitals for Children, and raised a total of $11,180.00 in Gabriel’s honor. In an effort to continue raising money, the group is planning an event from 6 to midnight April 28 at Duneland Falls Banquet and Meeting Center, 1100 N. Ind. 149, Portage.
There will be dinner, dancing and a silent auction and the money will go to the foundation. The cost is $50 per person.
"My dad was the type of person who loved coaching and giving back to the community," Joshua Rocha said. "He was involved in basketball and baseball and always was good with the kids. We wanted to continue his work."
Rocha said the foundation was formed because so many people approached his family about keeping Gabriel's spirit alive.
"People have reached out to us and want to get involved," he said. "He was extremely loved."
To purchase tickets, visit facebook.com/GabrielRochaFoundation or www.grf_13springdinner.eventbrite.com.