A Navy SEAL instructor has been temporarily pulled from training future SEALs during the death investigation of James Derek Lovelace. He died on May 6 during training in Coronado. His aunt, Jodi Lovelace-Patrick could not be more proud of him.
"He's something to be proud of, and I want people to know the truth about Derek and what an amazing person he was." She said he loved to love everyone around him. "He inspired you," Lovelace-Patrick said.
He went by Derek, but his family called him Bubby. "His mom; that was her baby boy," She explained. "That was the apple of her eye." Derek could have had a future playing pro ball, but his dad's service inspired him to serve. "He loved this country and once Derek loves something he's committed to it," she added.
He was known to excel at everything he did. "There wasn't anything that kid couldn't accomplish," Lovelace-Patrick said. "He was an awesome swimmer, [and] he loved the water."
He was doing introductory water training. Navy officials say he started struggling and passed out. Fellow sailors could not save him. The Navy is investigating, but Jodi does not think there was foul play. She thinks her nephew's heart could not keep up with his drive, and he may have just refused to give up.
Since his death, she has learned how he had an impact on other Sailors. "His drive inspired them to do better, and to be better and to work harder," she said. "He deserves honor and respect because that's what he gave to others." He lost his mom one year ago. Jodi finds comfort knowing they are together again. Now, she has a new name for him. "He is a hero," she said. "He's my hero."
He was laid to rest during a private ceremony on Wednesday.