I am sure you have seen a homemade roadside memorial at some point in your life. Some are erected by loved ones in the spot where a family member or friend has died.
They may be simple, like a lone white cross, while others may accumulate more memories such as stuffed animals, flowers, hats, and other mementos of life lost.
There is one such memorial outside a plot of land in Richmond, California owned by Chevron. There were flowers, angel statues, bushes and even solar-activated lights. All of it was kept up and maintained, by anonymous parties.
The townspeople were aware of the memorial, but no one knew whom it honored or who maintained it. This arrangement seemed to work until late 2016 when it was time to make some changes to the property.
Chevron did not want to discount the emotional importance of the memorial. That is when they placed a note on it, asking the unknown caretaker to come forward.
“I just knew they were going to take it down,” Ray Olson said. Olson had erected the memorial in honor of his son who was killed in an accident with a drunk driver.
Olson always tended to the memorial in the dark of night. He always knew this day would come.
Olson never imagined that Chevron would take the memorial down only to erect a new one. However, that is exactly what they did.
The neighborhood council president Cesar Zepeda worked with Chevron to create something that would better stand the test of time. Together they installed a plaque with a photo of Olson’s son next to a park bench. They placed these in a nearby park for all to see and use as a quiet spot. Joe Lorenz, of Chevron, said “We said, ‘This is your spot, Ray. You no longer have to come at night.’”
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