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"I don't want him to be forgotten": Family mourns National Grid worker killed in Waltham crash

Family mourns National Grid worker killed in Waltham crash
Family mourns National Grid worker killed in Waltham crash 02:28

CAMBRIDGE - The brother of Roderick Jackson, the National Grid worker killed in a Waltham crash, is opening up about his grief.

"He sacrificed everything for me to do what I do," Manuel Asprilla-Hassan told WBZ TV.

It's a gut-wrenching time for him and his family. Jackson's life was taken suddenly when he was struck by a pickup truck as he worked at a National Grid worksite Wednesday afternoon. "He worked day in and day out to help everybody else around him, especially this family. To be honest, he's the reason the family is still together, he is the heart of this family," said Asprilla-Hassan.

Jackson pushed his younger brother, who was a standout football star at Boston College, to further his education, go to law school, all the while Jackson worked long hours to provide for his mother and two sisters. Now Asprilla-Hassan can't understand why Jackson is gone. Peter Simon was charged with manslaughter in the crash that also killed Waltham Police Officer Paul Tracey.

"All I know is I lost my brother and this guy is walking. Why, why did God punish us, why did God take my brother?" said Asprilla-Hassan. He said Jackson, a technician on the National Grid gas operations team, loved sports, cars and having family dinners. His family called him Keto, an intimidating presence at 6 feet 4 inches tall, with a heart of gold. Asprilla-Hassan now wears his brother's simple bracelet.

"You just say Keto's name and I'm telling you, everybody will have a story, it doesn't matter how young they are or how grown they are. Everybody has something to say about him," said Asprilla-Hassan.

Now the family is making arrangements for his burial, but Asprilla-Hassan said he can never say goodbye and hopes for just one thing. "I don't want him to be forgotten, I want him to always be remembered. Always. Because that's what he is, a legend."

The family is holding a vigil at Hoyt Field near their Cambridge home at 7:00 p.m. Saturday night to celebrate Jackson's life. 

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