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Kiwana Denson hopes to save others in memory of her son

Posted at 7:11 PM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 20:21:11-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Je'Sani Smith is the King High School student who drowned after he was caught in a rip current last April near Bob Hall Pier.

His mom helped create that safety alert network to honor his memory.

When beach goers arrive, they'll see this sign.

It reminds beach goers of the dangerous rip currents, a warning that could have helped her 18-year-old son in 2019.

Kiwana Denson stood on the same beach Friday morning where her son's body was found almost a year ago..

“I can tell you first and foremost time did not wait for me,” Denson said. “It'll mark the one year (anniversary) on April 11 that he went missing at mile marker 210."

Je'Sani was swept away by a rip current and drowned.

“But the incredible part about it is that soon after his passing, we had the community, we had the state, we had the county,” Denson said. “Again, it started with one conversation that ended with, look what we have here today."

A lot of changes have been made over the last year to ensure beach safety like the reverse alert system which provides rip current alerts.

And Friday, Denson announced the Je'Sani Smith Beach Safety Alert Network.

"Everyone deserves to live, everyone deserves to live their life out,” Denson said. “We all expect to live into our 70s and 80s and we don't expect to lose our child at the age of 18 or any younger than that.”

Her goal? To ensure beachgoers are safe and to eventually create a statewide alert system, all in honor of her son.

“I think he would truly appreciate the fact that someone has taken a stance to prevent the same tragedy that has happened to him,” she said.

Denson will be out here during spring break handing out bracelets like these, as well as brochures on rip current safety, reminding people to float with the rip current instead of fighting it.

All of the new beach safety initiatives will go into effect on March 8.