FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – On Thursday, a Clovis school honored a beloved administrator who was killed by a hit-and-run driver three years ago.
Friends, family and co-workers of former Fort Washington Elementary Vice Principal Gavin Gladding dedicated a spot outside of the library to him after his passing.
“There was no one better with children than Gavin,” said Fort Washington Elementary teacher Karen Hahesy. “He knew every child by name, greeted them every morning, parked himself outside of the tunnel so he could say hello, high-five and tell them to always believe in themselves.”
Gladding’s legacy is now forever remembered as his daughter and son cut the ribbon to unveil the Gladding Gathering Area.
The spot, which has two benches and a plaque, was specifically chosen because it looks over the softball and cross country areas. Gladding was an avid runner and sports lover.
“The thoughts of him, even though it’s three years removed, still his spirit is here every day,” said Fort Washington teacher Greg Knod. “You just feel it.”
On Sept. 16, 2018, 18-year-old Rogelio Alverez hit and killed Gladding on Friant Road. Alverez was sentenced to three years in prison and released after 12 months.
For years, California Assemblyman Jim Patterson and Gladding’s family have tried to get Gavin’s Law passed. Gavin’s Law is a bill aimed at increasing the maximum sentence of four years for a hit-and-run.
Despite failing each time in the Assembly, Patterson doesn’t plan on giving up.
“We have done our best and yet sometimes I feel like I have failed the family,” said Patterson. “That hurts. But we are going to do it again. I feel a heavy responsibility to achieve this.
Patterson said the bill will likely go before the Assembly in January.