EMPIRE -- Brothers Alan, 7, and Javier Yepez Jr., 10, were the first ones in the water Friday evening at the grand opening of the community swimming pool at Empire Community Park.
The honor was fitting.
Their brothers Eloy, 12, José, 10, and Daniel, 8, drowned in the Tuolumne River on a hot summer day in 2003 after the youngest boy fell in and his older brothers jumped in after him.
Residents had been discussing bringing a pool to Empire for years, but the drownings inspired folks to make it happen.
The group Friends of the Empire Community Pool has been working since shortly after the tragedy to raise money to build and maintain the pool, which opens to the public today.
The pool's official name is the Regional Water Safety Training Center, Empire.
See the photos from the grand opening on the left.