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      Action 4 Exclusive: Father of John Perri, Jr. speaks out

      "He was my life, John Perri said as he fought back tears. He wasn't just my son--he was my companion and he was my best friend. He was my student. He was the brightest light in my sky."

      At just 7-years-old John Perri, Jr. had already been through more than someone twice his age.

      When he was two John had open heart surgery. His father, John Perri, Sr. said his son would not let that get him down and persevered"as he fought to stay alive.

      "His mother and I went through some hard times with him, Perri explained. But he was just the most special thing in the world to me. He was sweet, considerate, intelligent, and inquisitive."

      On March 27, 2013, no amount of fighting could save John, Jr.

      He fell into a canal just behind his home"the 7-year-old drowned.

      His body was recovered a day later close to where he fell in.

      Perri said he does not want what happened to his family to happen to someone else. He wants this tragic accident to serve as a reminder to parents that anything can happen in the blink of an eye.

      "If I had seen a sign that said 'warning canal zone' I would have taken my son there and told him not to go, Perri said. Parents need to hold their children close and you need to know your environment. I didn't know that canal was there. I didn't know."

      For Perri hindsight is 20/20.

      Had he known the canal was there maybe he could have prevent this tragedy from happening.

      But he did not.

      So now he just has to live with the memories he has accumulated over the past 7 years.

      He hopes that one day the pain will slowly subside.

      "I want to thank my little boy for the years that I had with him, Perri started. He was the brightest star in my sky and I will never be without him...never."

      Perri also wanted to thank each and every person who helped his family move forward. He said without the support of family, friends, and the community he does not know how he would have gotten through the first few days.

      Officials with Hidalgo County Drainage District # 1 told Action 4 News that they do what they can to keep people away from these canals. But it is not easy.

      They cannot put up miles of fencing to keep people out, but will continue to patrol the area and post signs in hopes no more tragedies happen.