Councilman Shawn O’Connell Funeral Set

Shawn Memorial

As many of you may know the City of Rialto lost one of the biggest advocates for the community on Sunday. Normally we would be all over stories like this but because of our relationship with Councilman O’Connell we were in mourning and took a slight step back to digest what had happened. The last time I saw Councilman O’Connell he had just left Taste of Rialto and was on his way to talk to some old friends. He told me see you Saturday but sadly that would be the last time I would see our beloved brother, friend and councilman.

Councilman O’Connell invited me and my wife to sit at his table for the Friends of the Rialto Library Dinner Mystery fundraiser One Bullet One Silver Spoon. Councilman O’Connell never made that event and those of us at his table grew concerned as the evening went on. As his friends we all made attempts to locate our friend and still we were unable to locate him it was late in the night so we decided to contact the police in the AM and continue our search. As you can see from the message from the city the next day we heard what nobody wanted to believe:

Council Member Shawn O’Connell was found deceased in his vehicle Sunday morning at 11:34 am. He was found in the parking lot of a restaurant in the City of Loma Linda. He was found by Rialto Police Officers who were on their way to Loma Linda University Hospital to check on his whereabouts. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and Coroner responded to the location and are conducting a death investigation.

Shawn Speaks

John M. Blodgett with the San Bernardino Sun wrote the best article outside of the Radio Show Let’s Talk Community audio tribute to the late councilman. Mr. Blodgett said he didn’t know Councilman O’Connell but his colleagues did and would write a follow up story. Well John you did better than the follow up article and we would like to thank you.

Councilman O’Connell was a beacon of light and had the communities respect from the moment he hit the ground in Rialto. Shawn O’Connell wanted to work in Law Enforcement but had a hard time getting his foot in the door. He didn’t allow this to stop him he put himself through the Police Academy while working part-time as a Loss Prevention officer for a local National Retail chain. He used to remark on the skills he learned getting people to cough up stolen goods and admit to what they had done would prove beneficial to him as he worked as an officer for Rialto Police Department. Shawn O’Connell gave of his time, money and reputation to further many, many causes in the local region. Each time he made a donation or helped a cause he only had one stipulation that his name be left out of it, he NEVER wanted to have his name attached to his ability to help he just wanted to be able to help.

Rialto 2015

Councilman O’Connell is the only elected official to lay out a platform of what he would do as a city councilman and complete everything within his 1st term. Councilman O’Connell was comfortable walking away from the job of being an elected official after one term because he believed that the framers of this country never envisioned that elected persons should make a career out of elected service. He only recently promised that he would serve one more term to make sure that:

  1. The money that is being collected via Measure U (higher fees on South Rialto tank farms) would be spent wisely.
  2. That council kept its promise to reduce the Utility Users Tax once the money was available as promised to voters.
  3. That someone else would step up and run for his seat when his 2nd term was up in 2020.

Shawn O’Connell also looked at himself as being lucky. He felt lucky because he had a few great friends and PD brothers that helped him through his injury and change in lifestyle. He was able to do everything he did after his accident because others took the time to be there when he needed it most. So since Shawn O’Connell considered himself lucky to have such strong support from family and friends he used his experience to help other people struggling with life’s medical mishaps. What is funny is he just didn’t help the person going through the tough spot he also helped their family members. He would call family members that had a loved one going through a rough patch in life and check in on them, Shawn was always the first person to visit a friend or community member in the hospital or when they got home and he always came bearing In & Out! Yes story after story other than Shawn’s dedication to visiting and helping he also knew a good burger or shake could help take your mind off of the pain your under now.

We ran a poll to see who the people of Rialto thought was the most influential person in Rialto for 2015 Shawn came in a close 2nd to a equally great man and police chief Tony Farrar. We had almost 30 people that the community was considering as the most influential person in Rialto in 2015 and Shawn still rose to the top. Shawn was flattered but never wanted such a recognition he would have preferred to have remained behind the scenes.

We want to know your stories. How did Shawn’s life effect you? What did Shawn show you that made an impact in your life? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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