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METROLINK COLLISION / DEAN BROWER

A family man who took in a foster child with disabilities

September 16, 2008|Evelyn Larrubia

Four years ago, Dean Brower opened his home to a foster child with disabilities who had been placed in protective custody after being assaulted. The teen was his son's best friend.

Brower's actions were typical of such a generous family man, said his wife, Kim.

"He didn't have a moment's hesitation," she said of her husband's decision to adopt.

"His heart just bled for Armando not having a family."

Brower, 51, was among those killed in Friday's Metrolink crash in Chatsworth. He was on his way home to Ventura from his job at a water treatment plant in Burbank, his wife said.

For a time, she said, they both worked graveyard shifts to free their days to tend to their two disabled children, both of whom were affected by childhood strokes. Their daughter Lindsey was left-brain damaged and legally blind. Their son Bill uses a wheelchair.

Dean Brower became a big believer in public transporta- tion as a young man stationed in Germany, one of his many posts during a 14-year Army career, his wife said.

Before he started riding the train, he would ride his bike three miles and take a bus to Goleta, where he previously worked as an electrical engineer, she said.

Brower liked to take son Bill on public transit buses as an "adventure," his wife said. When the family wanted to go to an event at Staples Center, Brower would make them ride the train, she said.

In 2005, Brower was riding a Metrolink train to work and got off right before it struck a parked sport utility vehicle near Glendale, hit another train and derailed, killing 11 people.

Some might have stopped riding the train after the accident. But not Brower.

"He was a true believer," his wife said.

"If he had survived this accident and had no legs . . . he would have wheeled himself onto the train."

-- Evelyn Larrubia

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