New Bedford has some of the best souls in the world and we lost one that our community and beyond will never forget.

I was debating writing about one of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met but after thinking about it I couldn't not say something.

Justin Monteiro is a name that has come up in my life a few times in a few different ways.

Before I talk about the absolutely stunning mural that has surfaced in downtown New Bedford in remembrance of him, let me first tell you my connection.

I was lucky enough to meet Justin, who passed away at home unexpectedly Aug. 31, through my cousin when I was in my early teens. They played sports together and hung out in some of the same crowds. While I was always the odd man out, Justin had this ability to never waver in treating everyone equally. If my cousin wasn't trying to involve me, Justin certainly was.

Looking back at our online friendship, Justin never missed posting on my wall for my birthday, which I thought was amazingly kind.

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Then came one of my last interactions with Justin. It was about a month before the pandemic. Justin reached out to me on Facebook about a job. I had just started back at Fun 107. Justin had followed my radio career, wanted to get into broadcasting and wanted me to mentor him. I wanted to hire him. That I did, but his time with us was short-lived as we had to cut positions due to the pandemic.

Letting Justin go was hard because he had a genuine passion that just can't be taught. He was honest with himself and with me about his shortfalls.

Fast forward about a year and a half later, Justin reached out in hopes that I would be a character reference for him to get a job. I responded with "absolutely," although I really hoped I'd be able to hire him back at some point.

I still have the last text he sent, "Anytime you are in town, if there is anything I can do to help you out, just let me know! And thanks again bud."

Ask anyone who ever interacted with Justin: He just had "it."

Call it charisma, Call it what you will. He was the gentle giant, the kind of soul everyone needs in their life.

Seeing a mural like this new one downtown is not only deserved but a reminder to all of us to be kinder to ourselves and one another.

Jeff Sait and Brian Tillett were behind getting this mural up at Sixth and Union streets.

"This kind of art project is close to me," Tillett said. "Justin and I grew up together, so when all the pieces fell into place we knew what we had to do."

The artists said the mural will stay up indefinitely and they are thankful to Abstrakt Lab Podcasts for providing the wall space.

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