7/20/15, Fallen Hero

In the early morning hours of July 4, a hero emerged in an old Victorian home in Los Angeles. The hero was a man I’ve known since he was a boy, named Sam Ewing, known to his friends as Sammy.

I first met Sam in his teens, a wiry funny lively, bright boy, full of life, with a passion and gift for music. He wanted to be a writer when he grew up, and was one of my son Nick’s two very best friends. They met on the music scene when both were playing in bands as kids. Nick’s was on a track toward success, and he and Sammy became fast friends. The boys spent time together, with their other friends, always dedicated to their music, and talented writers. Sammy was always fun, funny, the two were often up to harmless mischief and thought starting food fights among their friends was great sport. They had good years together in their teens, happily chasing girls, constantly playing music. They were part of a group of close ‘guy’ friends, and were a trio of good kids, with another close friend of Nick’s named Max. The three boys were inseparable, and Sammy came on vacation with us several times with our family. As an only child, Sam thoroughly enjoyed and was welcomed into our big family, with siblings both older than Nick, and younger. Sam fit right in and was always welcome and part of the fun.

Sadly, tragedy hit their group early on. Nick’s closest childhood friends fell one by one, to accidents (one hit by a drunk driver while crossing a street in the crosswalk), Nick’s suicide at nineteen. Then their friend Max’s suicide later. One by one, like the ten little Indians, they disappeared. Sammy was 3 years older than the others, and as of three years ago, was the last survivor of the group. He turned 40 in April. And after Nick’s death, he took on the role of stand in big brother to Nick’s younger siblings, a role has continued faithfully, and was particularly kind and attentive to my youngest daughter, trying to stand in for Nick. He worked in my office for 7 years after he finished college, was much loved by all, still played music in various bands at night, and tried to start a budding career as a writer, working on a novel, and writing under the pen name of Sam Winston. He had talent, life, energy, bright ideas, friends and a mother who loved him. He began in San Francisco, and moved to LA in the last year to add new horizons to his life, and worked on the music scene, still writing.

In LA, he moved into an old Victorian house with 4 roommates. And on the night of July 3rd, an electrical fire broke out. Within seconds, the house was filled with heavy black smoke. Sam came out of the house, found himself alone on the street, waiting for the fire department to arrive, and none of his roommates came out. Overwhelmed by the smoke, his 4 roommates were dazed, as Sam saw the house begin to collapse in the flames and smoke. Without hesitating, he rushed back inside, found his roommates, and one by one carried them to safety. Two were critically burned, two less so, and one by one he got them out of the smoke and flames. A hero was born in that moment, and no one who knew Sammy is surprised. It is so typical of the good person he was. And as he got the last of them out, the fire raged even further out of control, Sam was trapped and killed. His heroic act, saving four friends cost him his life. 62 fire fighters fought the fire for an hour before bringing it under control, with one of the firemen severely injured as well. Too late for Sam. There is nothing left of the house but shock and memories, Sam’s act of heroism, and the four people he saved and sacrificed his life for.

Although you didn’t know him, I cannot let this boy’s life slip away without saluting him, without sharing his act of heroism with you. My family is overwhelmed by sadness at this loss, his mother who raised such a great boy and human being, his friends who benefited so greatly from his goodness. We salute him now with love and honor, admiration and tears. We will feel the loss forever. The ‘six little Indians’ who were best friends are together again, laughing, making music, celebrating the brief lives they shared with us. There will be a food fight in Heaven, and beautiful music, great writing, the boys who were such good friends are together again. And Sam left us after saving four lives, of grateful friends who will remember him forever with awe for saving their lives and giving up his own to save them.

May he rest in peace, may he be remembered with joy and tenderness and love. We will miss him forever. I could not let him slip away in private sadness, and wanted to share with you the story of this heroic young man. There is another bright star in Heaven now, a bright shiny new one…..Sammy Ewing….the writer, the musician, the devoted son, the beloved friend, the adopted big brother, the boy who teased me and made me laugh as a kid, and touched us all as a man, an extraordinary human being who did what few of us would have the courage to do. Dance on, beloved Sam, may you be remembered forever and forever blessed. And surely, by all of us who knew you, you will be loved for the rest of time.

with all our love, and mine, Danielle

0119-002 5x7


Photos by Eliot Holtzman

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164 Comments so far
  1. Rob Scott July 20, 2015 2:40 pm

    Thank you Danielle for sharing this with us and using your God given gift of writing for goodness and healing.

    Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to YOU and ALL Mankind.

    Rob Scott
    Chicago, IL

  2. Asavari Sharma July 21, 2015 7:57 am

    This made me cry! Thanks for sharing this with all of us. 🙂

  3. Marty Stuart July 21, 2015 12:19 pm

    You have definitely overseen tragedy throughout your life and yet your writings of stories come across in such a beautiful healing way for friends and love ones. May God comfort you during this time and keep the wonderful memories of these young individuals in your heart forever.
    Thank you
    Marty Stuart
    Culpeper, VA

  4. Jean July 22, 2015 6:32 am

    Bless you for sharing this heart breaking loss. I try to think how greatful for them in my life and how empty it would have been without them.

  5. Cherie Hart July 22, 2015 8:14 am

    Tears rolling down my face as I read this. Truly a remarkable man and friend. Thank you for sharing. I am a strong believer in the good in this world and people like Sam make it so.

    Cherie Hart
    Hattiesburg, Ms

  6. Pam Martin July 22, 2015 8:20 am

    Danielle, thank you for sharing such a beautiful story of Sam. I am sorry for all the loss you have had in your life! God Bless all 6 Little Indians!!!

  7. debbie tidwell July 22, 2015 8:28 am

    God Bless !!!!

  8. Ella T. Morris July 22, 2015 8:28 am

    Dearest Danielle,
    I am a big fan of yours. Thank you for sharing such an inspirational story of the true friends.
    He may Rest in Peace.
    Your books are amazing. not only the stories in it, the courageous words inpires me. When I was feeling helpless in life I find your words could heal my soul when I read your books, and even just a short message. I feel relieve. Thank you for the kind words that inpires people, I imagine how soft spoken and gentle you are in person. you sound like full of wisdom. Once again Thank you!
    & God Bless You!

    Best regards,

  9. Natalie Cooper July 22, 2015 8:30 am

    My heart goes out to you & his family !!! It just Amazies me how God will put people in our lives for a reason, then when he takes them you wonder why ? But may Sam RIP, may you get confront knowing the lil Indians are playing TOGATHER AGAIN & WATCHING OVER ALL OF YOU NOW… GOD BLESS YOU, MAY PEACE BE WITH YOU ALWAYS !!!! & JUST TO LET YOU KNOW, YOUR BOOKS & STORIES HAVE GOTTEN MRE THOU LIFE FOR 20 SOME YEARS NOW… IM UPSET CAUSE IM A FEW BEHIND,,, WAS UP TO DATE…BUY HARDBACK FOR MY COLLECTION & PAPERBACK TO READ SO I ALWAYS HAVE DOUBLES… 🙂 🙂 🙂 <3

  10. Kathie Collins July 22, 2015 8:32 am

    Thank you for such a touching story! May he rest in peace! I wish more of this type of story made the news.

  11. Carol Von Slomski July 22, 2015 8:36 am

    Dear Danielle, so sorry for the loss of such a loving, caring friend of yours and your family. God has a plan for every life who is here on Earth, and he helped so many people. May he rest in peace. My love to you and your family. Carol

  12. Michele Chacinski July 22, 2015 8:37 am

    Thank you DANIELLE for sharing his life story with us. I’m sure he was a truly amazing person. He filled in for your Nick and sounds like he would go that extra mile for anyone. May he rest in peace. And your right he is another shining star to watch down on you.

  13. Cathy July 22, 2015 8:44 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Sam’s heroic story with us.

  14. Carol July 22, 2015 8:44 am

    Danielle, you are my favorite author. Love Sam, even more now even though i have never met him. He is truly a hero. He was so not a selfish person and is reunited with his pals. His purpose was great and left his mark.

    Thank you for sharing Sam with us.

    Your devoted reader.

  15. Sharon Dewalt July 22, 2015 8:45 am

    That is so sad, prayers are with his family, and yours. Now you can write a book about those 6 little Indians, I’m sure it would make a great story like all of your other books that I so enjoy reading. You are the only author of books on my shelf

  16. Deb Thomas July 22, 2015 8:47 am

    I just want to thank you for letting us know about this great man.

  17. IRINA Lane July 22, 2015 8:54 am

    MEMORY eternal to the servant of God Sam who has fallen asleep!A Hero!

  18. Lisa July 22, 2015 8:58 am

    Eloquent and heartfelt words….. touched my heart. Thank you for sharing his story. Seems he was an angel here on earth before he became an angel up in the heavens above. Blessings to you, yours and his family.

  19. Ellen Schabes July 22, 2015 9:00 am

    WOW, so sorry for your loss and his mother’s loss, Danielle. Beautiful and so touching.

  20. Judy Cales July 22, 2015 9:02 am

    I’m so very sorry for your lose it just does’nt seem fair sometimes when a life is cut short especially 6 of them, my prayers are with you all and his family. With love Judy

  21. Amy Mack July 22, 2015 9:05 am

    My condolences to you and your family. Thank you for sharing Sam’s story with us. I find your life and the people you surround yourself with to be so inspirational. My deepest sympathies.

  22. Mary July 22, 2015 9:05 am

    Thank you for sharing with us the life of this wonderful young man! May he forever rest in peace and may God give his family and yours the strength to get through this most difficult time!!

  23. Liz Mawhinney July 22, 2015 9:11 am

    I read this beautiful tribute with tears in my eyes and sadness in my heart. I felt as if I knew Sam personally. What an incredible tribute to a truly wonderful young man. May he dance and play music amongst the angels with other 5 little Indians

  24. Samita KarnikNaik July 22, 2015 9:15 am

    Thank you Danielle for sharing this. Here on earth we lost a remarkable human being but in heaven new bright star is born. I am sorry for your loss. May Sam’s soul rest in peace and all the six Indians enjoy in the heaven.


  25. Roxana Lawson July 22, 2015 9:16 am

    Dear Danielle,
    Iam so sorry for your irreplaceable loss. What a wonderful human being. His work on this place was over and his friends needed him with them. G_d bless his soul.

  26. Laura Keegan July 22, 2015 9:17 am

    So sad. I’m sure Nick was there to greet him. They are all together. Find peace in knowing their music and laughter are filling the halls of Heaven. Do what you do best. Write about them as you did with Nick. You’ll always be my favorite writer.

  27. Doreen July 22, 2015 9:18 am

    All beautiful souls belong in heaven. bless him. may he rest in peace. And bless u madam steel for sharing this sad yet beautiful story with us.

  28. Carolyn Stuckey July 22, 2015 9:21 am

    I did’nt know Sam, but i’m so sorry to hear about the sad news. And after what I’ve read he was truly a hero. May he rest in peace.

  29. Josephine S Chavez July 22, 2015 9:21 am

    Danielle, thank you for sharing this story. And am sorry for the loss of this very special young man. It is always very sad to see so many young lives being lost for one reason or another. God Bless.

  30. Margaret Jackson July 22, 2015 9:22 am

    Sometimes I wonder how people cope with so much sadness and tragedy in their lives. I hope you all stay strong and live your lives the way your departed loved ones would want you to.

  31. Arline Merritt Whitmarsh July 22, 2015 9:28 am

    Danielle I have loved your writing and probably have read every book you have written but still working on the most recent ones. You are an inspiration for all you and your family have endured and I applaud you…Writing about Sam was so heartfelt and I want to extend my condolences to his Mom and you his extended family.
    What a beautiful piece you wrote about him with love and affection. Sam is now with the angels and as you said another bright star in heaven with those he loved who pasted before him. May he rest in peace….
    Arline Merritt Whitmarsh

  32. Gitte July 22, 2015 9:29 am

    So heartbreaking that this amazing man died while saving his friends. But even more heartbreaking for us – your readers – is that the story of “Friends Forever” seem to be based on this group of friends your son Nick was part of. You didn’t just write it – you lived it…. May they all rest in peace…

  33. Savitha Naik July 22, 2015 9:30 am

    Thanks for sharing the story of a beautiful human being

  34. Filda manatad yiallouri July 22, 2015 9:33 am

    Thanks for your sharing the life of sammy,god loves the indian guys but it so sad we pray them. Your,filda manatad cyprus

  35. Mary Wilson July 22, 2015 9:35 am

    It would have been a privilege to know him. Sounds like a wonderful human being.

  36. shreshtha mittal July 22, 2015 9:38 am

    Danielle People like Sammy never dies… they are always with us in our memories…it was really nice on your part that you shared it with us so that Sam’s effort won’t go wasted… May God give his soul peace…

  37. Fran Greenfield July 22, 2015 9:39 am

    Dear Danielle,

    Your words are always so moving. Please except my sincere condolences on the loss of a great friend and family member. My eyes were all teared up it is a moving story and a sad one. A good start for another book !

    Best Regards Always,


  38. Jill miller July 22, 2015 9:40 am

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us. May god bless all that you have left behind. It sure made me cry! RIP

  39. Maureen July 22, 2015 9:46 am

    Beautiful tribute to a beautiful man. Thank you for sharing Danielle. He will live on through all the lives he touched and those who were privileged to know him. In the tree of life, the leaf that represented him, fell much too soon.

  40. Susan Goar July 22, 2015 9:57 am

    Very sorry for the loss of such a selfless young man. Thank you for sharing. Prayers for all his loved ones.

  41. Kathie July 22, 2015 9:57 am

    What a beautiful tribute to an outstanding young man. May the wonderful memories you have one day fill the hole that’s been left in your heart. Thank you for sharing this young man with all of us. My deepest condolences to you and Sammy’s family and loved ones.

  42. Darlene Garland July 22, 2015 9:58 am

    What a amazing story of a young man who saved his friends at the cost of his own. Life is such a gift from God. Thanks for sharing.

  43. Alka Jaiswal July 22, 2015 10:00 am

    Your ability to feel so intensely makes u the bestest of writers…may God be with all of u on tjis moment of grief n loss

  44. Shelley Welch' July 22, 2015 10:01 am

    Deepest sympathy to Sam’s family…all of you! a true definition of a Hero. rest in peace Sam. everyone close to him now has a special Angel to watch over theme

  45. Steven Beeman July 22, 2015 10:03 am

    Very touching. Steven Beeman. Dallas, Tx.

  46. Shaun Tracy July 22, 2015 10:05 am

    Danielle, I am so sorry for your loss as well as your own son, Nick years before. I have been reading your books since you started your writing career, and I cannot tell you how much joy you have given me in your writings. My first daughter was also named after you! You bring so much inspiration to others in your writings, and have a way of taking me into your stories so vividly. I look forward to every new novel you put out, and I can only expect that you will find a story to write around this courageous man that you have shared so many years with. God bless you and prayers for your family.

  47. Sylvia Donley July 22, 2015 10:07 am

    Sorry for your loss he will surely be rewarded in heaven for his compassion and love of others GOD bring comfort to all.

  48. Denise Bell July 22, 2015 10:09 am

    Wow, sure wish we had more people in the world such as this young man. I will keep you, your family as well as his in my thoughts and prayers. God Blessed you and he will continue.

  49. Gwen Harkins July 22, 2015 10:10 am

    Avid fan of yours and so sorry to read of the tragic event. What a guy Sammy has been – a true hero to the end.

    From Scotland

  50. Denise July 22, 2015 10:12 am

    Thanks for sharing – we should all have a hero in our lives

  51. Susie Sanders July 22, 2015 10:13 am

    Awww my God, I remember reading about Sam in Danielle Steel’s “HIS BRIGHT LIGHT: The story of my son Nick Traina”, how sad is it that all those young men are no longer here on earth with us but raising merry hell up in heaven no doubt. What a brave and selfless thing he did to put his own life in peril to save those of his friends, he was a hero right to the end, our loss his heavens gain but what a loss it is to Danielle and her family after everything you have all been through, and to Sam’s family and friends. God bless you all xxx.

  52. Brandy Geenen July 22, 2015 10:14 am

    Thank you for sharing Sammy’s story with us. It did bring tears to my face but also a warm feeling in my heart knowing that the “six little Indians” all all together again.

  53. Nora Samargedlis July 22, 2015 10:18 am

    As I read this my heart filled up with sadness,&my eyes filled up with tears for your friend Sam. He was amazing friend to you &your family.Many warm&loving memories you will have forever. May God comfort you&your family. I am sorry for your loss of your friend Sam. God Bless you all& give you the strength&comfort that you need at this sad time.My prayers&peace are with you Danielle.

  54. Annette Herbst July 22, 2015 10:39 am

    So sorry for your loss you and Sam’s family are in my prayers

  55. Tammy woodward July 22, 2015 10:48 am

    Such a sad story. Thank you for sharing!

  56. Peggy McAllister July 22, 2015 10:54 am

    Sammy reminds me of my own beloved son. He is everything to me and always will be. The kindest, sweetest, most loving human being I will ever know. All my Love, Mom

  57. Sandra Roland July 22, 2015 11:14 am

    May God Bless Sammy! A Hero of our day! Thank you Danielle for your insight into Sammy’s Life. He is resting in our Heavenly Father’s Arms.

  58. Manda Petzold July 22, 2015 11:21 am

    Thank you for sharing this with us all Danielle. So sorry for your loss. Condolences to all who loved Sam.


  59. Tammy Ratta July 22, 2015 11:24 am

    There are Angels among us. When it is their time to fly we are sad but know they were only loan. We are grateful for the moments we shared and believe they will watch over us until we meet again! God bless him and all those who loved him dearly.

  60. Tammy Ratta July 22, 2015 11:24 am

    There are Angels among us. When it is their time to fly we are sad but know they were only on loan. We are grateful for the moments we shared and believe they will watch over us until we meet again! God bless him and all those who loved him dearly.

  61. Heather July 22, 2015 11:50 am

    So very sorry for your loss. God bless and heal you all.

  62. Gabriele Green July 22, 2015 11:57 am

    I am truly sorry for ur loss. Sam was a remarkable man and a true friend to u and ur family. R.I.P. Sam.
    I liked ur last book COUNTRY and I hope that a new book is already on ur agenda for this year.
    Thanks for always keeping us updated on all ur great news.

  63. Corina Beauchamp July 22, 2015 12:07 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this touching story with all of us.There are so many heroes in this world who are never truly recognized for their unselfish behavior.I am so glad you shared your friend with us.Heaven is enjoying his company right now and he is making a difference up there in the eyes of our Lord!God Bless you and his family and friends.

  64. Gudy capote July 22, 2015 12:09 pm

    My the Angels welcome him with all the love he deserves. God bless him

  65. Fany Gatzionis July 22, 2015 12:14 pm

    I believe we come to this life for a purpose …Sam was here to be all that that he was… A wonderful being of light and to guard the four souls he rescued and a joy to the people around him…you were blessed to have had him in your life… He is now in a better place.

  66. Loretta July 22, 2015 12:18 pm

    Love, hugs & prayers for comfort & strength! To you Danielle & family.

  67. Julie Dirks July 22, 2015 12:33 pm

    Dear Danielle, Your words as they always are were beautiful in describing Sam. What a hero he is! How blessed you all were to have him in your lives and I will bet he felt blessed to have you too! You are right that all of the boys are together again and are shining stars! God Bless you always and Sam too!! Love, Julie

  68. Linda Hair July 22, 2015 12:34 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to an amazing person who,touched so many lives! May God Bless all of your family & friends who,were blessed to have him in their lives!

  69. maureen bloom July 22, 2015 12:42 pm

    This is sad and happy at the same time. I am so sorry for your loss but glad you had him in your life after you lost your beloved Nick. Condolences go out to you and your family.

  70. Frieda bakker July 22, 2015 12:45 pm

    My condolences to you and your

    Frieda Bakker

  71. Joyce Hill July 22, 2015 12:47 pm

    I am so glad that you shared the story about Sam.You are my favorite writer and one day soon I bet you write a book on Sam and the 5 Indians. So sorry for your loss and Sam’s family too.

  72. Tiffany Vaughn July 22, 2015 12:51 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story about a remarkable person. Love your writing. Have read all of your books.

  73. Sue Neville July 22, 2015 1:10 pm

    So sorry for your loss! God Bless you all!

  74. Nancy Boyd July 22, 2015 1:16 pm

    What a wonderful tribute to this brave and caring man who sacrificed his own life for those of his friends. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all who knew and loved him.

  75. cheryl jones July 22, 2015 1:17 pm

    How very sad for you and your family. Maybe you could turn this tradgedy into a book and donate the proceeds to a charity in Sam’s name?

  76. dona haddad July 22, 2015 1:18 pm

    I offert my sympathies to your friend

  77. nadine July 22, 2015 1:26 pm

    Danielle, thank you for sharing such a beautiful story of Sam. I am sorry for all the loss you have had in your life! God Bless all 6 Little Indians and god bless you and your family and friends.

    Nadine from

  78. Val July 22, 2015 1:36 pm

    Oh how very sad. I have tears streaming down my face – I read all your Books and especially the one about your lovely son ‘Nick’ How lovely of you to put your feelings into words. I am sure Sammy’s Mother, family and of course yourself are so so so very proud of this young man. May God Bless him and the ‘other Indians’. xxxx

  79. Kathryn Maurin July 22, 2015 1:48 pm

    So sorry for your loss. I remember reading about Sam in your book about Nick. He was a good man. Prayers for you, your family and his.

  80. Terrie Branam July 22, 2015 2:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. So sorry for your loss. He sounds like a great person
    Terrie Branam

  81. apollo. July 22, 2015 2:38 pm

    Sorry. …a hero…

  82. Shamima July 22, 2015 3:02 pm

    Hi, indeed a very sad moment for you all and Sam’s family. My condolences to you all. Thanks for sharing your story. In life we sometimes sacrifice our time for all the wrong reasons. Let this be a reminder, live your life with humility and always help humanity where you can. It might be in a small or big way, but people will always remember how you made them feel, or what you did for them. By the way Ms Steele, I luv reading your novels. Once I start, I read through the night from cover to cover. Thank you

  83. Shirley O'Kane July 22, 2015 3:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing this precious life of love.

  84. Dar Fitch July 22, 2015 3:12 pm

    that is such a beautiful tribute to this young mans life. I read the book about your son and he would be so proud of what you have written. They are all in a better place now. God will bless them and take care of them forever. I have tears in my eyes from reading your tribute. As always, you have a way with words.

  85. Deb Morden July 22, 2015 3:35 pm

    What a heroic story. So sorry for your family’s loss & his family & friends. Losing a child is the worst thing in the world. May the little Indians be playing in heaven with my angels as well. Love & prayets

  86. Gloria Saylor July 22, 2015 3:39 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. He had to have been a amazing human being. I am truly sorry for his family and your loss.

  87. rita July 22, 2015 3:57 pm

    Wish everyone had a friend like you .Sorry for your loss xxr

  88. Marie July 22, 2015 4:06 pm

    Thanks fir sharing, I remember reading about Sam. So sad, and now they are all together.

  89. Gerry fox July 22, 2015 4:08 pm

    so very sad :(. I too believe these friends are together in heaven!

  90. Jane Leavell July 22, 2015 4:38 pm

    We hear so much hatred and misery on the social media in all its forms that it’s truly wonderful to be reminded there are heroes in this world. Sam left us much too early, but he brightened the world while he was in it, and he reminds all that there are loving people all around us.

  91. Donna Freeman July 22, 2015 4:50 pm

    Condolescences to you, your family and the family of beloved Sam. I have been a life long friend of your work. I have read all of your books starting out many years ago with paper backs as a young person with little spending money. Danielle, your books have seen me through life’s challenges and for this I want to say thank you and also for being my number one author. My prayers are with you as you grieve the loss of your dear friend, Sam.

  92. Judith Oshea July 22, 2015 4:56 pm

    This is a beautiful dedication to a young man who thought of others first. It has to be a treasure for you to of know him. It is a pleasure for you sharing with the world.
    I love all your books.
    Sorry for your loss.

  93. Carolyn Ssingh July 22, 2015 4:57 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this story it has brought tears to my eyes and I will certainly share it with many others it shows how life is so fragile and what a wonderful and caring young man he was.My prayers go out to his family thank you once again

  94. Hedy July 22, 2015 4:58 pm

    So sorry for your loss. The Lord has a new angel now & Nick has his buddy. Always sad to hear about a young person going home too soon. May his family & yours be comforted having been blessed knowing this wonderful fellow. May the memories bring a smile to your heart & fill you w/joy &give the strength to continue to share Sammy’s story. God Bless you for sharing him w/your devoted readers,such as myself.


  95. marie collins July 22, 2015 5:00 pm

    What an amazing young boy and the wonderful man he became. You and your family were truly Blessed to have him in your lives. God Bless.

  96. kathy wills July 22, 2015 5:13 pm

    D.S. Thank you for sharing your story of Sam it was heartfelt and I am sorry for your loss, I enjoy your books so much and loved the one about Nick, I have a bi-polar son and your books always give me hope! God Bless I hope Nick and Sammy are smiling down on you!

  97. Denise Rozen July 22, 2015 5:20 pm

    So sorry for your loss. He seemed liked a wonderful man. As you said we have new bright shining star in heaven!!!

  98. Annette Jackson July 22, 2015 5:21 pm

    Thank you Danielle for sharing this remarkable story. It made me cry and sent shivers down my spine.All these beautiful young men were meant to be friends. Now they are together for eternity.

  99. Stacey Burgess July 22, 2015 5:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story of Sam with us..how very tragic..our condolences to his family and yours..but what a brave and selfless act of bravery..I panic at the mere site of fire and don’t know that I could have done the same thing.I lost my cousins in a house fire when I was 9 and there was nothing that I could do. I was 9 also and the feeling of helplessness was awful..the families of the ones he saved are truly blessed..his mother raised a very brave man..very sad day…prayers to everyone…

  100. Caylin July 22, 2015 5:29 pm

    I remember Sam from ” His Bright Light”. He seemed like such a good person and one who didn’t deserve to die. But at least he changed peoples lives. I send you my deepest condolences.

  101. Kathryn DiNetta July 22, 2015 5:31 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this story Sam was a remarkable young man And Danielle you are a sweet person for taking us into his life.

  102. Sandra Burkhart July 22, 2015 5:40 pm

    God bless, this wonderful man!RIP

  103. Maggie Burrows July 22, 2015 5:53 pm

    Thankyou so much for sharing this with us a truly brave young man gone too soon. I can see him catching up with his friends in Heaven having a party. Standing before God and hearing him say “well done good and faithful servant”.
    Danielle his spirit lives on in all that shared his journey and now we can share a little of his journey through you.
    God Bless you all as you mourn the loss of such an amazing young man.
    Love Maggie
    Western Australia

  104. Susan Lahrs July 22, 2015 6:30 pm

    So so sorry for your loss!

  105. Nancy Lipinski July 22, 2015 7:05 pm

    OMG, so sad. Sorry for your loss.

  106. Marcie Goldberg July 22, 2015 7:21 pm

    I’m so sorry Danielle for your loss of Sammy what a courageous young man he was. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with your fans. R.I.P. Sammy. I’ve been a fan of yours ever since I can remember. Keep writing beautiful story’s

  107. raynette adcock July 22, 2015 7:22 pm

    May they rest in peace and watch over you.Please continue to write awesome books.You should write a book about Sammy telling his story.That would be a best sell also.Plz Love to here for you

    Raynette Adcock

  108. Susi lewis July 22, 2015 7:23 pm

    thank you for sharing about what a wonderful man Sam was! He may be gone but with the love you have shown for this man, he will never be forgotten

  109. Cathy Eissler July 22, 2015 7:29 pm

    so sorry for your loss. You have endured so many losses with dignity and grace and this is no different. Praying for comfort for you and the rest of his family.

  110. Terri July 22, 2015 7:34 pm

    what a wonderful but sad story….Sam had a heart of gold and I know those he saved will forever remember this kind person. So sorry he didn’t make it, God was ready for him I guess. Thank you for sharing Danielle.

  111. Angela Daniels July 22, 2015 7:46 pm

    Thank you for sharing this with us. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  112. Ashley Van AKen July 22, 2015 7:53 pm

    thank you for sharing this beautiful story of this young man. may he rest in peace and may those he saved never let his memory die.
    my deepest condolence to you and the family.

  113. Becky July 22, 2015 8:12 pm

    I truly heartfelt dedication written with emotion and love and dedication to this young hero.. You ofen wonder why the “Good” are taken so soon?? I guess we will never know but because of your dedication in letting people know of him he will
    now live on in your writing of his spirit and love of life.. I must say I hate stories such as these because it seems so senseless to end a man’s life who only gave of himself. So as for you I guess I would say you were “Blessed” to have him in your life.
    Becky Beck
    Bull Valley, IL 10:11pm 7/22/2015

  114. Cathy July 22, 2015 8:12 pm

    Thank you Danielle for your beautiful words, they were very well put, you don’t find to many young people like that any more, may your family and his family be blessed, my prayers are with both.

    May he RIP.
    Cathy Patterson, California

  115. Sandy July 22, 2015 8:22 pm

    This was such a tragic event. Reading it made me cry. My heart felt sympathy goes out to all of you. He sounds like the kind of man everyone would love to have around forever.

  116. Betty C. Levin July 22, 2015 8:37 pm

    Danielle, your tribute to Sammy was heart wrenching & a beautiful tribute to Him. God will bless him with a special place in his kingdom.

  117. Ruth July 22, 2015 8:39 pm

    Thank you for sharing and so sorry for your loss. What a selfless, wonderful human being he was.

  118. So sorry to hear of such a tragedy… but they will all be happy in heaven.

  119. Donna July 22, 2015 9:11 pm

    So many tragedies you have lived. I am so sorry to all those that knew and loved this wonderful and heroic man.

  120. Suzanne Smith July 22, 2015 9:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts of a special man. I have friends that were Evacuated from their Hotel room which was located next to the house. They were in from Canada to watch the Dodgers games. I shared your story with them this morning, they were so happy to know the story of the Hero who lost his life while saving his friends. They both said it helped them put a story to what they witnessed that horrible morning!!!
    I’m a devoted reader, but I’ve never been prouder to be one as much as today. Hugs and prayers to all.
    Suzanne Smith
    Placentia, CA

  121. Annette Interlandi July 22, 2015 9:26 pm

    Thanks for sharing Danielle seem like there’s the title of your next book six little Indians and your matiral to base it on keep up the fantastic work your an inspiration to all xxx

  122. Shannon Glover July 22, 2015 9:42 pm

    we should all be so lucky to have our story told by you. You are a beautiful storyteller that draws us in. He sounded like a beautiful soul and would be touched to be remembered so eloquently. God bless you and your family and may Sammy keep you all safe!

  123. Abinet D. Yoseph July 22, 2015 10:16 pm

    Dear Danielle, my best condolence For Sammy Ewing family and friends, he was such a gentlemen, I was quite sure at first that I wont cry but…..

    I start reading your book since I was in elementary and till now I am hunting your work. God speed Danielle your my #1

    Abinet D. Yoseph from Ethiopia, East Africa

  124. Marqueta July 22, 2015 10:25 pm


    Thanks for sharing this story about Sammy with us. I’m sorry for your loss. May Sammy RIP.

    Prayers for your family and Sammy’s.


  125. Peggy lim July 22, 2015 11:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I’m really moved to tears by his heroism even though I didn’t know him. RIP.

  126. Souriana July 22, 2015 11:18 pm

    That’s a sad story, sometimes while reading a novel or watching a movie, we shed tears. What if this hero was a real person, and the story true!
    I’m so sorry for your loss. My condolences to you and, to your family!

  127. Allispan Vasquez July 22, 2015 11:40 pm

    I am so very sorry that such s bright light has left this world too soon. God only knows how much we need people like him in this day in age. What a touching tribute to his life… It had me in tears. Many prayers to you and his mother.

  128. Oyaima Camman-Calvo July 22, 2015 11:47 pm

    My respect and salute for this man. Sam. Your selfless act is admirable and courageous. You will be missed but never forgotten. Thank You for sharing such a beautifully sad story.

  129. Sharon Harvey July 22, 2015 11:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing such an inspirational story. I am so sorry for your loss. RIP Sam, together again with the 6 little Indians x

  130. elizabeth July 23, 2015 12:34 am

    Thank you. This was a lovely tribute to Sammy. You were all the better for knowing this bright light. Sincere condolences to your whole family and his family.

  131. Lynda July 23, 2015 12:52 am

    Beautiful words ms steel. Hope your having a ball up their Sam reunited with your childhood friends.

  132. Tana Stoiberg July 23, 2015 1:47 am

    Thank you Danielle for sharing the story of Sam and how he put his friends above his own life. That shows such a selfless and truly good person that he must have been. It gives humanity hope that there are still people in the world with goodness. And how fortunate for you to have had the priviledge to be a witness to his life. May God’s presence help you through your time of grief and help you find comfort in the knowledge that he is in heaven with his friends and will be blessed for eternity. The acts we as individuals do while we are here on Earth show God the true character of each of us. I have been a reader of your books since i was a teenager. You have a way with words that touch so many people. My condolence goes out to you and your family.


    Tana Stoiberg <

  133. Keyla Marques July 23, 2015 5:02 am

    only you could put in words such respect and greatfulness. Sam will always be remembered. And, as you said, the friends are reunited again. Having fun together. And one day we all will be reunited and will once again listen to their music and their laughs.
    God bless him and all the kiddos.
    God bless you.
    thanks for sharing.
    Keyla. Brazil

  134. Paua Weber July 23, 2015 6:25 am

    He sounds like he was such a wonderful person. There just aren’t enough Sam’s in the world. Thank you for sharing this with us. RIP Sam.

  135. moreblessing July 23, 2015 6:29 am

    sounds like one of your books and yet its a true and sad though lovely story. i am totally touched. May he rest in Gods hands. thank you for sharing

  136. Mena Curci July 23, 2015 6:43 am

    What a story, what a life…is this fate, destiny or whatever else should we call, May Sam rest in peace and his memories live forever.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful life a full one only at 40 years old.

  137. Judy Osborne July 23, 2015 9:17 am

    So Sorry for the loss of a Great man. He is a HERO. He saved his friends and they will remember this for the Rest of their lives.
    You were so Blessed to have known him. May he rest in peace. The best way to think of him now is that all the friends are together again again.
    Thank You for sharing this story with everyone. I cried while reading it. My heart goes goes out to you and everyone involved with all the boys.
    My bother committed suicide 38 years ago and I still can’t get over it. But I know he’s with a lot of our family now and that’s what keeps me going.
    God Bless you.

  138. Chan Bell July 23, 2015 9:49 am

    Such a wonderful young man. May he RIP and always be remember the hero and friend he was. I am sorry for your loss.

  139. lillian horn July 23, 2015 10:55 am

    What a great story and book this would be of four friends who now are living a life of happiness, love and free of sorrow.

    My Condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.

  140. Lynn Netterfield July 23, 2015 11:15 am

    How blessed you and your family was to have Sammy in your life.

    My sympathies to his family on his tragic ending.

    How nice it is for Nick to have his friend back with him.

  141. Nancy Wheeler July 23, 2015 11:55 am


    Thank you for sharing the tragedy that caused the loss of this courageous man. I read the book you wrote about Nick’s life and the great loss you have endured and now again you are facing the loss of yet another member of the family. He will be rewarded for the brave deed he performed to save his roommates. Thank you for letting your readers know of the wonderful friend, and the kindness he shared with others.

    Nancy Wheeler
    Mims, Florida

  142. Mark Pomeroy July 23, 2015 12:34 pm

    So well written about a selfless young man showing that some people are still prepared to help others

  143. Karen Drummond July 23, 2015 4:17 pm

    Thank you for sharing thiis awesome story with us. He was a remarkable person in your life. Take comfort in that. Be blessed.

  144. Karyn'Marie Alvarado July 23, 2015 5:14 pm

    Every sad to hear of the many tragedies over the years. You don’t find many like that . May you find peace.

  145. Miranda July 23, 2015 6:56 pm

    what a courageous young man , May God be with you Sam . A very beautify written .

  146. Kathryn Amador July 23, 2015 7:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing ….Sam touched another persons heart all the way from heaven. “Mine”. What a man, what a person.
    What a blessing to know such a hero. I’m sure his smiles taught you and others plenty. And his shinning star, the angel he has become… Will guide and protect others all the way from heaven.
    God Bless

  147. Carol White July 24, 2015 10:26 am

    Thank you for your wonderful sharing of Sam. Sam will be with his friends and still watching over you and your family too. What a wonderful hero Sam was saving his friends.

    Carol White
    Crawfordsville, In

  148. Tina July 24, 2015 2:10 pm

    You story makes me think of an boarding school accident here in Denmark,, that happend 4 years ago. 2 teachters and around 14 young people around 15-17 years of ages, were out on a sailing in a non sailing wather because it was too cold and too windy, but they went out. (One of the teacthers wanted it, and he as the only one did not survive).
    One of the young ones got up of the cold water fast, rushed for help, and back to the accident to help out as good as possible. Now 4 years later her and 3 others will get a very rare award from our queen. Because of her and the others herioc doing. Without those, it very easily could have cost more then 1 mans life.
    The youngesters are doing very differently that day today, and a few are not doing very good. One of them will never be “normal” or even get a normal life as he got a servive braindamage.
    Ofcourse, the longer the different people have been spending in the cold water, the more servive their damages got. The school and headmaster was later charged as guilty in the accident.

  149. SANDRA HERRERA July 24, 2015 4:32 pm

    Dearest Danielle, I’m so sorry for (another) loss of life. What a beautiful tribute you wrote for your friend. I’ve loved your books from the beginning and I’m so sorry for the losses you’ve experienced in your life. I admire your strength and kindness and your gifts you’ve given us in your books. You are amazing. Sending my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. And always – my best wishes to you and your family.

  150. Karene Butler July 24, 2015 5:34 pm

    I am so sorry for yet another loss in your life. I read your book about your son Nick as well as almost all of your books. I pray that God will comfort you and all that loved Sam. God Bless You.

  151. Gig Pilcher July 25, 2015 1:10 am

    Sammy is a hero and may his family and friends find some small comfort in that as they face a huge loss of his presence on earth!

  152. Lucy A Goh July 29, 2015 10:03 pm

    Dearest Danielle,
    Your books are superb.I admire your skill of being an established author.I have been collecting your books eversince I read Granny Dan..I like the stories and I like everything you have featured. Hope more to come.

  153. Brian gantz August 1, 2015 7:42 am

    You were a son to me ,I will always miss you . Brian g

  154. laura girard August 5, 2015 9:37 am

    my prayers to you and family he was a very brave person and may he rest in peace

  155. Lorraine August 8, 2015 6:09 am


    What a sad story. The bravery of this man is unbelievable, and I honestly don’t think the average person could run back into a burning building. The families of the people he saved must be overcome with emotion. May he rest in peace. Lorraine

  156. selena mcgowen November 19, 2015 4:46 pm

    Hi Danielle. Thank you for your beautiful words. “Sammy the Mick ” was a staple in the 90’s punk/ska scene and I would see and/or talk to him at nearly every show, from the Link 80 matinees at Club Cocodrie, to various venues around the Bay Area. I was saddened to hear of his tragic passing on facebook and send out love and prayers to his family and friends. I will never forget how inseparable him and Nick were. And how kind both of them were to me. I was lucky enough to know them both and although we were just acquaintances, they both impacted my life forever. So thank you for this beautiful post! I hope you and Sammys family have begun to heal and trudge on. Wishing you and your family happy holidays. With love, Selena McGowen

  157. Shelly Briscoe July 23, 2016 10:22 am

    What a truly amazing way to express a longevity of a lifetime between what seems like such well brought up young people.I feel as though I was somewhat apart of it all.Thank you for sharing.It sounds as though these boys were meant to be apart of your life for sure!

  158. Sammy's Friend December 17, 2016 10:32 am

    As one of Sammy’s close friends, I feel I should point a couple of things out, since Sammy was a huge proponent of honesty and truly would have laughed at being called a hero. His roommate said the house went up in flames “in 20 seconds” and firefighters on the scene reported he was found in the attic and “didn’t stand a chance” to escape. Someone carrying people one by one within a window of 20 seconds, then finding the time to go back in and go back up to his attic room where nobody was before getting trapped is very unlikely. Everyone wants to believe he died for something good, but he didn’t. He didn’t stand a chance to leave the attic alive. And my heart hurts everyday for knowing that he died alone in that smoky attic while everyone else got out. He wasn’t stupid, he wouldn’t have rushed back in if he had brought everyone out. Unless he wanted to die that way. Bless you, Danielle, for loving Sammy like your own son. But knowing Sammy, he would have wanted this discrepancy pointed out because he wasn’t a hero. He was a flawed man in the best of ways. But the stories of him rushing back in don’t match with logic and the time span of how fast his roommates said the house burned up. I don’t want to imagine that he did some incredible feat if he didn’t because I would be lying to myself about who he is, which he hated. Also, the firefighters put out the fire in 36 minutes and one firefighter suffered from minor smoke inhalation, as opposed to your more dramatized account. I just know Sammy would want the truth put out there. Regardless of the details of his death, I am grateful for his life and his amazing talents he shared with the world.

  159. Carma January 4, 2018 8:11 pm

    Missing Nick.

  160. Karen Raymond April 6, 2019 2:25 pm

    I miss Nick, Max & Sammy. I cannot, for the life of me, believe that all 3 such beautiful young men are gone. Although I stayed in touch with Sammy, I hadn’t seen him in person since 2007. He was the one who told me about Julie’s passing. I’d spoken on the phone with her not long before & just thought life had gotten too busy for her to keep in touch. I actually had a very nice day with Sammy & his mom. I would love to send her my condolences & memories of Sammy, if at all possible.

    Sending so much love to you, Danielle. And to all of Nick’s siblings, who he loved with all of his heart. I know your heart is broken over these losses, but I always imagine you as a pillar of strength & grace, while the tears stream down my face.

  161. Diane Balsley March 12, 2021 8:03 pm

    Many times I would take my son (Joel) and daughter (Sarah) to see All Bets Off. I spent a lot of time outside venues speaking with Sammy and his beloved. They were great people and I respected all of the kids from the “scene.” And, of course, you know my son Joel, who had his own band, Dead in the End. I am not surprised at Sammy’s heroism. I am most sad that an exceptional human being is no longer with us.
    Diane (Plante) Balsley

  162. Jeffrey Frey November 14, 2021 4:58 pm

    You may not remember me, I’m amazed that I didn’t hear about this sooner. We only spoke with Sammy a few times, but I’m writing this because April is still crying. It’s been years, but you may remember April as April MacFadden. You truly know how to put feelings to paper. It’s been years since we’ve spoken, but I can’t express the sorrow that it brings to us especially to find out 6 years after the fact. Sammy loved you and had your back, and April is really unable to talk right now. Love and hope to you and your family, I can’t imagine the depth of the loss. For your children, his mother, you and the friends he left behind. This is a lousy time to hear about it, I hope that it does not hurt you,To be reminded of Sammy, Even if it is 6 years after the fact. It’s all fresh to us we send our prayers and hope for healing to everyone, and that means a lot of people, who were touched by Sammy. Jeff Frey speaking for April MacFadden because she really can’t right now. If this is an unwanted intrusion forgive us we could not let the passing of so exceptional a person Go unacknowledged. With prayers for the brightest future for you and yours. April and Jeff.

  163. Lorraine Moore November 24, 2021 8:01 pm

    What a tribute to a wonderful human. He gave his life for others.
    Thank you for sharing his life with your readers.

  164. Faith Earley September 20, 2022 6:30 pm

    You write total bull shit about Sammy Winston. Get the facts straight.
    The very sick in the head Sammy started a fire and ran back into the house
    to get his drug stash. There he died. End of story. Blah blah blah to your
    nonsense. You wish that Sammy was a hero!