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Community remembers tragedy

Family pays tribute to member who died after motorcycle accident

Posted: February 26, 2009 1:06 a.m.
Updated: February 26, 2009 8:00 a.m.

From left, Child and Family Center CEO Darrell Paulk, James Degnan, Katie LaKamp and foundation Executive Director Lois Bauccio gather to honor Taylor LaKamp at the Child and Family Center Wednesday with a comemorative plaque.

 
Friends and family of a 15-year-old boy who was killed a year ago gathered Wednesday at the Child and Family Center to plant a rose and dedicate a plaque to his memory.

“It’s not just any rose — it’s a special one to honor Taylor,” center CEO Darrell Paulk said during the ceremony. “White represents honor and reverence.”

A brick behind the white rose bush on the center patio was dedicated: “In memory of Taylor LaKamp.”

The 15-year-old West Ranch High School sophomore died Feb. 17, 2008, in a motorcycle crash near California City.

His 2004 Honda 420 collided in midair with another teen’s motorcycle when both motorcyclists jumped a dirt berm heading in opposite directions. They were traveling between 40 and 50 miles per hour, witnesses said.

Taylor suffered massive lung compression and heart damage from the front tire and wheel of the other motorcycle, which hit him in the chest.

He was airlifted to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield but died about an hour after the accident.

At the time of Taylor’s passing, the LaKamp family asked people to donate money to the Child and Family Center in lieu of buying flowers.

The timeliness of the gathering Wednesday at the center held special significance for Taylor’s family.

“It’s special,” said Taylor’s dad, Joe LaKamp. “Sometimes it feels longer, but it’s been a quick year.”

Taylor left a legacy of kindness, said his 19-year-old brother Grady.

“He was the most positive person I’ve ever met,” Grady LaKamp said. “You could never get him down. I could see so many people related to him and he never really had an acquaintance. Everyone was a friend."

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