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Vigil Held For Costa Mesa Worker's Suicide Over Layoffs

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Costa Mesa city employees by the hundreds met on Monday for a vigil to celebrate the life of Huy Pham, a talented 29-year old maintenance worker who jumped to his death from the Civic Center on Thursday as layoff notices were distributed through City Hall to nearly half the workforce in a city facing a $1.4-million deficit and rising pension costs.

Co-workers who honored and mourned Pham remembered him as "a skilled workman who could wire an attic or rip out a rotted deck," noting that even the light stands in the parking lot "bore his stamp," reports the OC Register:

"Nowhere was his skill and work ethic more apparent, they said, than in the building that houses the city’s historic collections. Pham spent more than a week knocking out rotting and termite-infested boards, then rebuilt the building’s deck by hand. When the city considered building a new fire house, Pham’s boss joked that it could just buy the materials and turn him loose. “I just want to say, that kid was incredible,”

Maintenance Supervisor Doug Lovell said at the vigil. He imagined Pham arriving at the gates of Heaven, pausing to inspect the construction, and then saying: “I could do better.”

Those attending the vigil bowed their heads and observed 30 seconds of silence at 3:17 p.m., the moment Huy Pham jumped.