RIALTO, Calif. — The Incredible Edible Community Garden in partnership with The City of Rialto will plant a Healing Grove Memorial in remembrance of 2015 terror victim Daniel Kaufman June 4 at 2pm. The garden will be built in the city’s popular Fergusson Park
“I am extremely touched that this grove is being planted,” said Ryan Reyes.”I feel that it is a beautiful way to honor the memory of Daniel as well as they other victims by giving those of us left behind a place to go and remember them without having to visit a place such as a cemetery or other kind of memorial site that might carry too many sad connotations such as death and loss.”
Reyes was Kaufman’s boyfriend when the terror attacks happened in December 2015 at the Inland Regional Center complex in San Bernardino. Kaufman worked as a barista at the Coffee n’ More shop inside that facility. When the shooting began on Dec. 2, Kaufman reportedly pushed other people to safety, rather than running himself.
He has since been credited with saving the lives of at least four people.After the attacks, Reyes spoke out nationally not only against terrorism, but also against the anti-Muslim backlash that often follows such attacks. He was invited to the White House for the 2016 State of the Union address and appeared on the Dr. Phil show.
He will be attending Sunday’s memorial.
Reyes said, “I will be there and will probably be taking part. I am not completely sure about anything as I have chosen to not be involved with the planning phases of this particular project because I felt his family should be the front runners for it.”
Reyes added that he’s been trying to move forward from what happened himself. “I have slowly been trying to remove myself from things as much as possible because it is downright impossible to move forward and heal if I am constantly involved with everything. For my own sanity, I just can’t keep doing it.”
In 2016, Reyes described the journey as an emotional rollercoaster. He added, “Daniel would not want this to become all that I am and define me as a person.”
The organization behind the memorial service is the Incredible Edible Community Garden, an organization committed to “strengthening neighborhoods with community gardens and agroforestry projects.” They are based in Rialto, which was Kaufman’s home town.
Event organizer Elenor Torres said, “The Healing Grove Memorial will provide community members with a positive outlet to grieve and seek closure in a safe environment, while taking part in improving our community park.”
Expected to attend Sunday’s memorial planting is Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson, Congressman Pete Aguilar, Assembly member Eloise Reyes and Supervisor Josie Gonzalez. TWH reached out to Mayor Robertson for comment but did not hear back into time for publication.
Torres added that this garden “is part of a series of Incredible Edible Community Garden memorial plantings in memory of the victims and survivors of the terrorist attack.” The public is welcome to participate, and they encourage visitors to bring gloves and be ready to work.
Reyes added, “It is wonderful that a site like this will instead invoke thoughts of life and renewal with the concept of trees and gardens.”