BYU–Hawaii alumnus and a dear friend to those who knew him, Warren Trinidad passed away after a battle with COVID-19 on April 14. He was in Queens, New York when he contracted the virus.
After hearing of his passing, Raenielle Sunga, a friend of Trinidad’s and a BYUH alumnus, organized a GoFundMe and a Facebook fundraiser to send Trinidad's remains back to his family in the Philippines. He said he originally asked for $8,000, but they raised more than $10,000.
“Knowing Warren, it just shows how much he impacted a lot of people through his BYUH life, where he was a working person supporting his family in Macau,” Sunga said. “And now, when he moved to New York to explore other things, it just shows how much he interacted with all the people around him and how he really wanted to help them.”
Likewise, Exur Garcia, another friend of Trinidad’s and a BYUH alumnus, said this fundraiser and the money raised shows how much people were affected by Trinidad and how it honors his general character in life.
“I think being generous means not necessarily giving money, but giving your time. So, he did that, and he gave time to people that are really important to him.
I think being generous means not necessarily giving money, but giving your time. So, he did that, and he gave time to people that are really important to him.
“I know that he valued friendship. Almost on top of that key value was his family, so much so that he would be willing to sacrifice everything for his family.”
Memories over the years
Sunga said Trinidad was the only member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his family and an IWORK student at BYUH, even though he was on the cusp of being too old for the program. Sunga said Trinidad being admitted into the IWORK program shows how much effort and hard work Trinidad was willing to put in to serve those around him and form a better life for himself.
“He was able to prove himself that he is worth the scholarship [in the IWORK program] and became one of the great students and also a good act for PCC. Because of his character and personality, everyone just loved him and adored him.”
Garcia said Trinidad was also one of the presidents for the Filipino Club at BYUH. Through this, Garcia said Trinidad was able to make everyone feel welcomed and accepted into their club on campus.
“He was very approachable. He always smiled. One thing that I really liked about him was he took care of his subordinates. When I first came to BYUH, I felt like I was really welcomed by the chapter and his good leadership skills.”
Outside of the Filipino Club Sunga and Garcia agreed Trinidad was always a caring and warm friend. Sunga said one of his favorite memories with Trinidad was driving around the island and going out to eat late at night, and Garcia said he remembered fondly how he and Trinidad would get together and play video games.
Trisha Panzo, a senior from Qatar studying graphic design and psychology, and a friend of Trinidad’s, said she remembered how much Trinidad would check in on her and help her with things, even as he was keeping up with his busy life and preparing for his internship in Walt Disney World.
“He was just basically a big brother to everyone, and that's how I felt when I met him. He was a big brother to me, and I think that's just one of the fondest memories that I think [Warren's friends] mutually share.”
Similarly, Princess Donato Astle, another friend of Trinidad’s and BYUH alumnus, said she remembered a time where she was very ill in the middle of the night and felt a prompting to message Trinidad for a blessing. Within minutes, she said Trinidad and a friend were at her hale in church clothes and ready to help her in any way.
“I felt so grateful to have him like a brother who took care of me at that moment. He was known to many as someone who was always there for you. He made you laugh, even on your saddest days.”
He was known to many as someone who was always there for you. He made you laugh, even on your saddest days.
Sunga also said Trinidad was open to spending time with anyone and would invite people into their group. “We had our own group, and when he saw someone who was kind of on their own, he would be nice to that person and add them to our group.”
With all of these great attributes and stories in mind, Panzo said she felt Trinidad lived his life in a way to best help those around them, whether it be by making people laugh or just always being there for the people close to him.
“Looking back at what he did and looking back at how he treated people and how much fun he had, I think he did live the life he wanted to,” she said.