CREATED Apr. 26, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A Las Vegas mom has turned her grief into a work of beauty.
Her son, who was in the U.S. Navy, was killed by a train while on leave from his ship. But she's doing something to make him proud and it makes Las Vegas a better place to live too.
The work is back breaking. But a park in honor of Jacob Sportsman is what this grieving mom needed. His mom Joyce says, "The hardest part is having love for someone and not being able to give it to them because they're not here. You can't express it to them. So this garden gives me that place to give those hugs and a place to put that love for Jacob."
On his 22nd birthday, Jacob was hit by a train while on liberty from his ship in Virginia. He lost both of his legs but survived for a few days -- long enough for family and friends to say good-bye.
Joyce returned home longing to honor her son. Her friend Ciara Byrne suggested a garden. "She wanted to do a memorial and I said what about if we put a garden in a school somewhere? She said that's perfect because he would like something living."
Jacob's Living Park will be the heartbeat of John Park Elementary school and it will feature a bird bath, vegetable garden, and even a labyrinth.
Jacob studied Buddhism and taught friends to be still. Now generations of kids can learn from him in a peaceful garden grown with love.
Jacob joined the Navy hoping to do humanitarian missions. He fulfilled that dream, going to Somalia and Africa.
The garden will cost about $7,000 and they've already raised $6,500.