There is an old saying or truism if you like: “If you give something from your heart, it will come back to you tenfold.” Such is the case with Lake Elsinore resident Sylvia Monaco, an employee of the Hemet Wal-Mart who once lost her 10-month-old great grandchild.
Lake Elsinore Councilman Daryl Hickman who hearing of Monaco’s tragic loss contacted her to say that a memorial plaque for her grandson would be placed under magnolia tree in the city’s first community garden.
“The excitement of waiting for the stone to be finished turned my sorrow into joy,” Monaco said. She visited the garden and the memorial stone often and found comfort and peace, thinking to herself that she wanted to share her feelings with others.
Then in March, she saw the tremendous heartbreak suffered by her Wal-Mart supervisor Sasha Grey, whose sister Kristin Wimbley, 44, brother-in-law Alphoso Wimbley, 55, and nephew Kyan Wimbley, 12, were killed in a tragic traffic accident caused by an alleged drunken driver in Corcoran.
Monaco told Grey about putting a memorial in a community park for her family.
“I talked to Sasha, and she wanted it too,” Monaco said.
From there Monaco put the wheels into motion by contacting Hemet City Mayor Linda Krupa who made it possible to have city workers install a tree and memorial plaque for the Wimbley family in Mary Henley Park, a place where people jog, barbecue, play games and more, a place full of life, Monaco said.
Krupa pushed the approval through for the tree and memorial plaque, Monaco said, even though the Wimbley family did not live in the city because they have a large contingent of their family living in Hemet. Krupa, Grey, the Wal-Mart Superstore manager and management team, associates and other members of the immediate family attended the memorial placement in ceremonies a few days before Thanksgiving.
Krupa spoke, pointed to Monaco and said, “She pushed us, and she changed city policy. The next time we have a family who needs us, we are ready,” and thanked her.
Hearing of the memorial planting, other members of the community and businesses helped with the service, Monaco said.
“Mayor Krupa and Public Works for the city of Hemet really came through,” Sylvia said. “I would like to give a special thanks to a few of the employees whose donations made this possible: Chase Murray, Candy Murray, Angela Epley and Angela Gutierrez. So many of these stockers and cashiers came running to donate so that Sasha could do this memorial for her family. And thanks to our co-manager Joe Caro, a professional photographer. God Bless them.”
She said the mayor and the public works employees came to the ceremony, and she wanted to give her special thanks to Public Works Supervisors Charles Russell and Mauro Lozoya.
“Mayor Krupa and Charles Russell directed me to Dave Moon of Moon Nurseries in Murrieta who sold us a tree at cost,” Monaco said. “Mayor Krupa introduced me to Curt Wershon who manages Miller Jones Mortuary of Hemet…a very generous man. He spent much of his own time taking care of arrangements for the granite plaque and saved us enough money to buy flowers from Luanne Stockton of Floral Expressions in Hemet.”
Monaco said that these efforts prove to her that what was given to her, she passed along to another and that a good heart that brings joy and helps overcome grief and sorrow. She said it is what a “Thanksgiving” truly means in family, neighborhoods and the world.
Looking even further, Monaco said the Wimbley family has become involved in the movement against drunken driving and are now spending a lot of time under the park’s memorial tree.