Public memorial service held for Donovan Maldonado
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Family and friends are remembering the child killed last month in a deadly hit and run accident in Northeast Fresno.
Hundreds packed People's Church on Monday night - family, friends, school leaders and coaches. All of them made one pledge - to never forget what happened to Donovan.
Donovan Maldonado made quite an impression in his seven short years.
"He reminded me how fun it is to be a little boy. He seldom walked. Whenever he got the chance he sprinted to his next destination," Liberty Elementary Principal George Petersen said.
From his school principal to his teacher -
"If there was a student that I thought might be a professional athlete. Donovan was that student - you could see it in his eyes, he loved sports," Liberty Elementary teacher Kathy Rigeir said.
His family members are still in shock from the devastating loss.
"I'm really really mad I'm crushed, my family is crushed it took a lot out of us," grandfather Mike Greer said.
Everyone at the service watched as a video played Donovan's life in pictures. They reminded one another that his was a life taken too quickly.
Donovan and his family were riding home when they were hit in a cross walk back in July. His father and sister were seriously injured.
The man who police say was behind the wheel, Central High Baskeball Coach Loren LeBeau is now charged with driving under the influence amongst other crimes.
"I hope everyone here will take this and use this awareness and make sure this don't ever happen to another family again. Not something any family should have to go through," uncle Tyler Greer said.
Donovan's parents did not attend the service but friends say they're overwhelmed by the support, and the grief, and wanted to express their gratitude in a letter read by a friend.
"There's also so many in the community we're not even aware of. We want to say thank you for your care. We appreciate you all very much," family friend Pastor Brian Cain read.
As members of his football team passed out pictures of their team-mate, everyone was reminded the hard work has only begun.
"This is a long journey both physically, emotionally, spiritually and im proud to witness what this community has done to this point but it's not over," Cain said.
Fundraising events still continue for the Maldonado family. There's another one this weekend:
When: Saturday, August 18
Time: 10 a.m. - 12 noon
Wear comfortable clothes and be ready to dance and sweat!
Vendors from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.! Silent auction! Food!
Where: PG&E Clubhouse, 2252 S. Orange, Fresno, CA 93725
Tickets: $5 in advance or $10 at door, Kids 12 and under free
*All donations up to $10,000 will be matched by PG&E*
Can't attend the event? Go to any Bank of America to donate to the Donovan Maldonado Memorial Fund.
Contact: Melissa Lennex - (550) 392-1668 -for vendor info or Marissa Taylor - (661) 873-5717 for Zumba info or tickets
fresno, fresno county, fresno northeast, dui, accident, local, stephanie stone
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