The Galveston College Whitecaps baseball program gave former player Andre Derouen Jr.’s family a presentation befitting of a hero in a special ceremony Friday afternoon at Bernard Davis Field.

Derouen Jr., who was a freshman outfielder on the Whitecaps roster at the time, drowned while rescuing his younger brother from a neighborhood pond not far from their League City home last March.

“It didn’t matter if it was his brother or a stranger, he would’ve done what he could to help,” Derouen’s father, Andre Derouen Sr., said. “He loved his brother so much, and if he had to do it again, he’d definitely do it.”

Friday’s presentation was emceed by long-time Houston Astros announcer and Galveston native Bob Ford.

“We gather not to ask why, but to thank the Lord for blessing us with the life of Andre Derouen Jr.,” Ford said.

Ford described Derouen Jr. as an extraordinary young man whose smile would light up the room, and noted that he played baseball since age three and was always highly dedicated to the sport. Then, came the announcement that Galveston College would immortalize its former player.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are honored to forever retire and honor Andre’s No. 1 jersey,” Ford said.

Ford said the jersey will be displayed, along with a special plaque, on the right field wall.

“It was awesome that the Whitecaps decided to honor Andre,” Derouen Sr. said. “It’s a bittersweet moment, but it really makes our hearts happy to know that they’re honoring him in this way. He’ll forever be a Whitecap. He really loved the game, he loved playing here in Galveston.”

Derouen Jr. was a standout baseball and football player at Hitchcock High School before earning the opportunity to play collegiate baseball in Galveston.

“That was his dream from back when he was a young child to play at the highest level that he could,” Derouen Sr. said. “He elected to come to Galveston College because it was close to home, and the program is excellent.”

The ceremony took place before the Whitecaps’ season opener against Temple College, which they won 5-3.

James LaCombe: 409-683-5242, or on Twitter @JamesAtGalvNews

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