"Don't ever forget to tell someone you love them before they leave; you never know what could happen in such a short time."

When his younger brother was in danger, Alex Smith didn't hesitate.

On July 1, 2014, the Smith family was on a trip together when Chris Smith, 13, slipped and fell into the Row River near Cottage Grove, Oregon. Big brother Alex, 17, ran to the riverbank and tried to pull Chris out, but was swept away himself. As they went over Wildwood Falls, Alex made one last attempt to save Chris, pushing him clear of a log in the water. Chris made it out of the river, but Alex was trapped beneath the log and drowned.

Alex's death deeply affected his small community of Aloha, Oregon. The incoming high school senior was remembered at a candlelight vigil by over 100 of his friends and teachers at his old elementary school. At a memorial service, the Aloha Church of God was filled with friends, family, and community members, more than a dozen of whom spoke about Alex. "Together, their stories painted a portrait of Alex, a boy who gave rib-crushing hugs, snored like a lion, sported outlandish outfits, shared whatever he had, and had a love for everyone," wrote reporter Anna Marum in a story for The Oregonian.

Said Alex's father Scott, "He left a little glimmer of goodness everywhere he went."

One of Alex's tweets this summer, shared by his father, spoke to his love for those around him:

"Don't ever forget to tell someone you love them before they leave; you never know what could happen in such a short time."

Read more of Alex's tweets