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Thursday, October 29, 2009

El Sereno students and residents remember a faithful friend

The building of a parking lot usually is not normally cause for celebration. But the completion of a landscaped lot behind tiny Farmdale Elementary school in El Sereno last year was the result of a lengthy community effort to transform what was often a dusty and sometimes muddy lot into a more useful and attractive piece of property. One of the key players in the transformation of that lot was El Sereno resident Robert F. Saunders. School employees remember Saunders as one of Farmdale's most active volunteers and a constant presence on the Eastern Avenue campus. But, last year, following the completion of the parking lot, Saunders passed away unexpectedly, according to school employees.

Earlier this month, Farmdale staff and students, which include one of Saunders' grandchildren, as well as residents honored his contributions by naming the parking lot in his memory: The Robert F. Saunders Parking Grove. Councilman Jose Huizar, who helped secure funding to build the lot, praised Saunders during the dedication of a plaque mounted on a large stone:

"Mr. Saunders, who passed away in 2008, was absolutely instrumental in working with me to pave over a dirt parking lot shared by families of Farmdale students and children who play sports at the adjacent El Sereno Park ... Robert Saunders is proof that one person really can make a difference and we all owe a debt of gratitude to him for never giving up on a dream. "

Bottom photo from Council District 14

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