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Friends remember Rockford man who drowned in Lake Michigan

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — This year, more than 30 people have drowned in Lake Michigan and that now includes a young man from Rockford, Moath Nagi, this past weekend.

"He was so excited to go to Porter Beach and enjoy a Sunday afternoon," Ricardo Montoya-Picazo, a friend of Nagi's, said.

In fact, Montoya-Picazo told 13 WREX, Nagi invited him to go with, something that gives him chills now.

"I hope this is a nightmare and I will wake up," Mustafa Abdall, Nagi's mentor and friend, said.

Montoya-Picazo said he and Nagi used to love to exchange funny audio messages.

"We loved to talk politics," Montoya-Picazo said with a laugh.

Nagi was also a husband and father.

"We drove about 45 cars to his wedding in Chicago, about a two hour drive," Abdall recalled.

To Abdall, Nagi was like a son.

"He was my student, he was my son, he was my volunteer for years, he was my community events photographer, he was — he was — I can't tell you what he was — he was unlimited," Abdall said.

Nagi was also known to have a tireless work ethic.

"He'd call me at night and say, 'Uncle (Nagi's name for Abdall), I'm working the night shift and I will get you it (Nagi did graphic designing for Abdall) in the morning," Abdall explained. "Then, I'd wake up at five in them morning and I found he'd already created and sent it to me."

Nagi was talented when it came it mixed-media.

"He was always creating videos for the police," Montoya-Picazo said.

And that's because Nagi aspired to be a Rockford Police officer.

"His dream was to become a police officer, to assist people, to combat crime," Montoya-Picazo said.

Abdall spoke of Nagi's dream too.

"They motivated him to dream to be one of them," Abdall said.

Moath Nagi had a future filled with endless possibilities, but he was a bright star that burned out too soon. Moath Nagi was just 21-years-old.

"He will be missed," Montoya-Picazo said.

Richard Bodee

Richard Bodee is a reporter at WREX. He joined the 13 WREX team in June 2019 after graduating from DePaul University with a Master’s degree in broadcast journalism.

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