Annual Bike Safety Day
Memory of Joshua Franklin Palomares-Beckles March 24th 1999 &
Honor of Officer George Reavis from the Winston-Salem Police Department
Joshua was born on a chilly spring
morning on March 24, 1999 at 9:57 AM.
He was the oldest of three boys, Jacob (2001) and Johan (2004). He also
had a half sister in California,
Betsy Palomares, who was 15 years older than him. Joshua loved his big sister
and little brothers very much, and they loved him too.
Joshua was named Franklin after his uncle, Franklin Beckles.
On May 20th it was Tio (Uncle) Franklin’s
Birthday, and Joshua was sad that he was not able to go to Texas to see his favorite uncle and
celebrate his birthday. At around
2:15 PM on May 20th Joshua said: “Mommy I want to buy you a bike for
your birthday. Mommy, I want us to ride our bikes together. Mommy please why
don’t you buy a bike today?” I told Joshua that we would go the next day after
church. Joshua and I never got to buy a bicycle together because at around 7:00
PM a drunk-driver hit him while he was riding his bike in our neighborhood. The
driver was driving on the wrong side of the road and did not see Joshua. At 10:55 PM Joshua died at Wake Forest
after sustaining a horrendous head injury.
The doctors tried but could not save his
life. Was he wearing a helmet? Yes!
Joshua was wearing a helmet but the speed and size of the SUV were stronger
than a 60 lb. 7 year old boy.
Joshua’s favorite toys were trains, his favorite color was green and his
favorite number was 3. Joshua fell in love with trains. He would spend hours
and hours playing with his trains. When he was 17 months old, he started
attending the Creative
for Very Young Children, with Othella Johnson the Director, and Mrs. Jan Elkin,
his very first teacher, whom he loved very much. It was there that he developed a passion
for drawing. They also reinforced his love for singing and playing musical
instruments, something he learned from me. Joshua would draw everywhere we
went. He carried crayons, markers
and paper in the car; he always wanted a notebook to draw in, or he would
simply get computer paper and just draw trains and tracks all the time. Often
you could not see the hardwood floors in our living room because of Joshua’s
many drawings lying everywhere. He
also enjoyed drawing with his Dad and I think he got his artistic abilities
from him. His dad taught him how to
draw cars and trains. Joshua was also very good in math. By April of 2006, he
was already doing 3rd grade math on his own. Joshua also enjoyed playing with Legos
and blocks. He would build beautiful houses and buildings with them. He also
liked to save money. He was saving money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
He truly cared about people; he would worry about his friends at school who had
gotten in trouble. He also had a
very good sense of humor, he always made us laugh with the things he did and
said. In one occasion his first grade teacher sent us a note home that said:
“Rejoice because a gift has been given on to you”. He was truly a gift in our lives.
Joshua was not perfect; often we tend to
think our children are perfect, especially if they die before us. But I know he was not perfect. He was the oldest of three boys and had a
hard time sharing his trains, especially “Henry” Engine #3 from Thomas the Tank
Engine. He had to learn to share
his Mommy and Daddy, and later he also had to share his beloved train sets.
Joshua was in First Grade at The Arts Based
Elementary School in Winston-Salem.
He loved his teachers and school very much; he was always eager to go and learn
something new. Joshua was also taking piano which he enjoyed too. He also learned how to make puppets from
Joshua had many hopes and dreams, he wanted to be a
train conductor, a bilingual teacher on a train and an Architect and build tall
buildings. He also wanted to obtain his PhD at Baylor
University in Texas, just like his uncle. When he was
three he told me he wanted to become a Daddy when he grew up. He said, “Mommy,
don’t worry, when I grow up I will give you a granddaughter”.
As a grieving mother I wanted to do something to bring
awareness about the importance of bike safety. I want to prevent another child from
going through what my child went through physically and emotionally. I want to prevent families from going
through the terrible pain and suffering my family has had to endure. I want
parents to learn about bike safety and how children view traffic and I want
parents to know that there are drunk drivers making decisions for us everyday.
They decide to put our lives in danger when they drink and drive and
unfortunately we don’t have control of that.
On May 19, 2007 we celebrated our First Bike Safety Day at the
of Winston-Salem with the
assistance of the Winston-Salem Police Department Bike Patrol and Crime
Prevention Units, under the leadership of Officer George Reavis. We distributed 254 helmets on that day
and we hope to have saved many lives.
Today, May 17, 2008, we are celebrating the Second Annual Bike Safety
Day at the Gateway YWCA, in memory of my precious Joshua and in honor of
Officer Reavis. He was instrumental
in the development of the first event and we would have not been able to do it
without him. He helped make my dream of “Bike Safety Day” a reality. On January 27th of this year,
Officer Reavis had an accident and unfortunately sustained a brain injury. It
is truly a miracle that he is still with us. We wanted the community to know
how committed he was and still is to children’s safety. He was an inspiration
for those of us that were fortunate enough to work with him on this project
last year. I wanted to let his family know how much we appreciate his
contributions to this cause and also to let him know that we have many “Bike
Safety Days” ahead of us. So, let
us remember the life of my beautiful Joshua, and help me celebrate the life of
Officer Reavis who is here with us today.
Hayluri “Luly” Beckles (Joshua’s Mom)
3/24/1999 - 5/20/2006
Officer George Reavis