FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – September 18 will mark the five-year anniversary since Gavin Gladding was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
Friday, Fresno County is honoring his life with a memorial on Friant Road.
“Today is not about weeping, it’s a day of legacy,” said Nathan Magsig who sits on the Board of Supervisors for District 5.
Former students, friends, colleagues, and community members came out to today’s memorial unveiling to show their support for the Gladding family.
Now, two blue signs have been put up along Friant Road that read “In memory of Gavin Gladding educator and environmentalist.”
Gavin’s mom Rita Gladding recalls the moment she first saw the new memorial.
”It’s hard to describe, emotional, thankful, happy, and it’s the right thing to do,” said Gladding.
Since Gavin’s passing, Rita has worked tirelessly with government officials like Jim Patterson to get a memorial in place.
“People need to remember what happened so people can help it not happen to someone else’s family which is what we’ve been trying to do all these years in Sacramento,” said Gladding.
For years, State Assemblyman Jim Patterson and Gladding’s family have worked together to try to pass Gavin’s law in the state legislature. The law would increase penalties for hit-and-run drivers.
“Which would hold these drunk drivers accountable with some additional prison time if they hit, hurt, kill, and leave,” said Patterson.
Despite failing each time family members are not giving up, and while Gavin’s law may not yet be in place, history was still made.
The new memorial is quite rare in Fresno County.
Normally memorials like these are reserved for fallen law enforcement, but today it was for Gavin.
The Gladding family also received a sign to take home.
The city hopes this will help keep Gavin’s legacy alive.