Remembering Dale Burkeen, Part 1

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Aaron "Dale" Burkeen, 37, of the Sandtown community was one of eleven people who died in the explosion of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

His family is trying to cope with the unimaginable loss.

News about the DeepWater Horizon Rig exploding and then sinking continues to infiltrate homes. News of the explosion came directly to Douglas Walker, Dale's cousin.

"Janet texted me at 5:04 that Wednesday morning. It said, 'pray for Dale', that the rig he was on, DeepWater Horizon had exploded," said Walker.

The unexpected tragedy sent shock waves through members of Burkeen's entire family.

"It was an emotional roller coaster for everyone, the whole ordeal was," Walker said.

The twists and turns of the fatal incident created major road blocks for those grieving over the loss of Burkeen. According to Walker, the ups and downs of the ride weren't enough to break his family.

"Family support and prayers from everybody is helping the family," he said.

Family members shared memories at the home of Dale's sister.
Walker most remembers Burkeen putting everyone else first.

"Dale was a very unselfish person, very kind-hearted. He always has been through life," said Walker. "He's the type of guy who would give you the shirt off his back, if you needed it."

According to family members, that kind heart went into every role Burkeen played. Walker says, without Burkeen, their family is not complete.

"I will be missing a friend, more than a cousin," Walker said. "Each one of the family members will miss something different. They will miss a son. She will be missing her brother. The children will miss a father, a great father. Rhonda will miss a husband, and all in all, a world has lost a friend."

In Part 2, another cousin talks about the man known as "Big D".