Garden grows as memorial to Aurora boy
By Matt Brennan For The Beacon-News October 2, 2012 6:30PM
Daniel and Lisa Richardson tend to the memorial garden at Hall Elementary School in Aurora, which they planted in memory of their son, Dylan. Dylan was 7-years-old when he died in a car accident in 2007.
Updated: November 4, 2012 6:15AM
AURORA — When 7-year-old Dylan Richardson died in a car accident five years ago, his parents did not initially know how to honor him.
They considered a scholarship, but Dylan died before getting to high school.
They talked with people at Hall Elementary School in Aurora, where Dylan attended, and the conversations eventually turned to a memorial garden. And the idea took.
This week, the West Aurora School Board honored Dylan’s parents, Daniel and Lisa Richardson, for their years of work on the school garden.
“As long as I’m physically able, I’ll take care of it,” Daniel Richardson told the School Board.
The garden idea worked so well because gardening was already a hobby, he said. They also had the money given at Dylan’s memorial service to launch the project.
The garden includes a variety of plants, and reading benches to create a peaceful place of tranquility away from the hustle inside the school. So far this year, Daniel has put in more than 100 hours of care, and $1,000 in upkeep.
For the Richardson family and everyone who enjoys it, the garden serves its purpose.
“It’s a memorial. It’s community service. It keeps Dylan’s memory alive,” he said.
Superintendent James Rydland said that he has enjoyed the garden in the past, and hopes that more volunteers might take on projects at neighborhood schools.
“We’d love to have this catch on,” Rydland said.
The Richardsons agreed.
“It’d be nice if the volunteer spirit caught on around the district,” Daniel said.
There is another way that Dylan’s memory lives on, in addition to the garden. Their son was an organ donor, and saved three lives after the car accident in which he was killed. Dylan’s heart went to a child in South Carolina. His liver went to St. Louis, and his pancreas to Indiana.
“We find some solace in knowing that he saved lives,” Daniel said.