By Steve Large

LODI (CBS13) – A Lodi city councilman is in mourning after his son died in a river-rafting accident.

The two men were in that raft together on the Truckee River on Father’s Day weekend. Only one survived.

That surviving father now has a message for all dads.

“The message I have for you or anybody is this: Tell your children you love them. Often.”

Those were the words of Lodi council member and former state Assembly member Alan Nakanishi, who lost his son in the rafting accident.

“He was kind, loving and strong,” he said of his son.

Jon Nakanishi was a father and a husband himself. He had served as his father’s campaign manager and was now living out his dream campaigning for Lassen County judge.

“I’m at the age I’ve accepted that life is not fair,” Alan said.

Jon and Alan were together on a raft in the Truckee River, their wives with them, when something went wrong.

“We were stuck on a rock,” Alan said.

Jon jumped out to free the raft but then couldn’t get back on board.

Jon managed to cross the frigid current. He made it shore, then collapsed. He wasn’t breathing.

“Yeah, he probably swallowed some water,” Alan said.

Another family member started giving him CPR. Then his dad did too.

“Hopelessness,” Alan said. “All of a sudden you pray, that’s when you start saying, ‘Lord, make him come up, make him come up, make him come up.'”

Jon was taken to a hospital. He died days later.

“This is the toughest thing I’ve ever done,” Alan said.

Now this Lodi lawmaker is calling on all fathers to express their love before it’s too late.

“Hug them frequently,” he said. “Do it before you die. Hug them, because you don’t know what tomorrow holds, and I’m glad I did that.”


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