⚫ Rolando Camarillo-Cholula was spending the day with 3 of his kids

⚫ He had just opened his own drywall business

The man who drowned after pulling his children out of the Millstone River in Franklin was a father of six and had just started his own business.

Rolando Camarillo-Cholula, 42, of South River, lost his balance Wednesday afternoon after helping his three children age 13, 11, and 8 get to shallow water. He never resurfaced and a large search was conducted. His body was recovered late Wednesday afternoon.

"Finding that the father of three died while saving his children saddens the whole Borough of South River. A small community, we grieve with Rolando Camarillo-Cholula’s family and express our condolences to them," Mayor John M. Krenzel told New Jersey 101.5.

A verified GoFundMe page created by his cousin Isaura Lopez said Camarillo-Cholula  and three of his six children were at "one of their favorite walking spots in Somerset County" in an effort to cheer them up.

"He took his kids to go see their mom at work, enjoyed a good breakfast together and did karaoke in the car before heading to enjoy a walk in good weather," Lopez wrote.

Search for Rolando Camarillo-Cholula in the Millstone River 8/2/23
Search for Rolando Camarillo-Cholula in the Millstone River 8/2/23 (CBS New York via Facebook)

A hero to the end

She described Camarillo-Cholula as a "true hero" as demonstrated by his actions Wednesday to help his own children in their moment of need. Four of his children are middle or elementary school-aged.

"To me & the rest of my family, he thought only of his children and did his best to provide them with a fulfilling and educational lifestyle," Lopez wrote.

Camarillo-Cholula had worked in the construction trade and had just started his own business and achieved a goal of owning his own home. Former boss Peter St Vincent on his Facebook page said Camarillo-Cholula worked for nearly 12 years before opening his own drywall business.

Another hero dad

Camarillo-Cholula is the second father to lose his life while helping their child this summer in New Jersey.

Mark Batista, 39, a retired member of the FDNY, drowned in June rescuing his daughter when she got caught in a reip current while swimming in the ocean off Avon-by the Sea. The firefighter immediately went in to save her but he was swept under.

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