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Evening of Remembrance honors youth

Seventh annual event commemerates 84 people who died

Posted: September 30, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 30, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Patty Rhoades of Saugus pays tribute to her son Andrew "Roo" Rhoades at the Youth Grove in Central Park.

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Several dozen community members gathered together on Saturday night in Central Park to commemorate the seventh Annual Evening of Remembrance and memorialize young people who died in traffic-related accidents in and around Santa Clarita.

Members of the Visions in Progress Youth Advisory Committee read off each of the 84 names represented at the half-acre Memorial Grove. Each name is inscribed on an individual pillar shaped to mimic cut tree stumps in order to represent young lives cut short by accidents on the road.

“This grove is a remembrance of all the great memories we’ve had,” said Mayor Frank Ferry.

The pillars surround a monument that urges the community to “know more” about safe driving habits in order to ensure that “no more” young drivers will lose their lives due to reckless driving.

Jessica Kelsey attended the event to remember her friend Dara Esther Folsom, who died in a car crash six years ago. Kelsey, who brought her five-month-old son named Jayden with her, said she thinks events such as the Evening of Remembrance will help her to have open dialogue with her son about safe driving when the time comes.

“You just can’t be behind the wheel and not care,” she said.

Valencia resident Ryan Davison-Nowicki said Memorial Grove should serve as a caution to young drivers as well.

“We need to teach people that a car needs to be thought of as a weapon,” she said. “And anytime they (young drivers) are behind the wheel, they need to be cautious.”

lmoney@the-signal.com

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