Sweat poured from Isaac Meek early Friday as he finished his tribute to the lives lost in the Surfside condo collapse -- a 6-foot-long sand sculpture of a heart that he engraved into the beach almost in the shadow of the tragedy.
Using only a rake and the tip of its handle, the 21-year-old Miami Gardens hotel worker spent about two hours working shirtless in the blazing Florida sun creating his sculpture, digging out sand, piling it up and drawing waves and roses on its 1-foot-tall berms.
He said his father had suggested the project as a way to honor those who died in last week's building collapse that has left 20 dead and 128 missing and comfort their family members.
SURFSIDE CONDO COLLAPSE
“I have always been able to inspire others with this single talent,” said Meek, who has been doing sand sculptures for three years. “I want to use my talent for good and to impact others.”
Meek made his sculpture far enough inland that it is safe from water, but maybe not from the tractors that clean and fluff the sand each morning. He hopes the drivers will notice his work and leave it alone.
“I made it detailed so the tractors will understand,” he said.
Meek hopes that if a victim's family member comes across his work, they will get some peace from it.
“They are still here,” Meek said, touching his chest over his heart. “Whoever you lost, they are still watching and still with you.”