|Here are just a few of the 350 hand-painted tiles that will make up the mosaic honoring Terry Smith Jr.|
Members of the same group have also been instrumental in organizing a volunteer appreciation event at the July 26 Lake Elsinore Storm baseball game in support of the Menifee community and in remembrance of Terry.
Workers will assemble the 350 4-inch tiles painted by members of the community and will mount them as a mosaic on the front wall of Menifee Market, the site where volunteer efforts to find the missing 11-year-old were coordinated. That mosaic will be unveiled during the Aug. 2 ceremony, which will include city representatives and is open to the public.
Facebook page the dedication of the mosaic, which will include a plaque honoring the memory of Terry. Additional details will be announced as they become available. The group is seeking help from volunteers who wish to give of their time in assisting during the mosaic dedication ceremony.
The Remembering Terry Smith group has stated repeatedly on its Facebook page that it will not get involved in discussion regarding the criminal case. Speculation and accusations have run rampant on social media ever since a body matching the description of Terry was found buried in a shallow grave on the Smith property behind Menifee Market on July 10. Terry's half brother, Skyler Atilano, was arrested on suspicion of murder.
"This page will end shortly after Aug. 2," writes Sarah Reid of the Remembering Terry Smith group on its Facebook page. "But in the meantime, we have a job to do, right everyone? We need to ensure that in all the disputes, anger, rumors and other 'stuff' that is surrounding the criminal case, that we stay focused and assure that Terry Smith Jr's legacy is one of love and community. That is our job here at Remembering Terry Smith. I hope you will all help us to see it through."
Veronica Bocanegra, one of the volunteer coordinators behind these tributes, told Menifee 24/7 she has spoken with Terry Smith Sr., who flew in from West Virginia on Friday. She said she and other volunteers have offered to sit down with Smith and discuss a public memorial, but to her knowledge nothing definite has been planned. Meanwhile, some have posted on Facebook sites that local residents are working with Smith to organize such an event.
"I don't know if Terry or others are working on one," Bocanegra said. "If they are, that's fine. Our first responsibility is to the boy. Our next is to Shawna (the mother) and Terry (the father). We're trying to reach out as neutral to both."
Bocanegra said that contrary to what some have reported, Terry Smith Sr. was invited to the private memorial service held Saturday at Revival Church. He chose not to attend. She said both parents, who have twice been divorced, have been invited to the upcoming public ceremonies. Terry Smith Sr. may return to West Virginia before then, she said.
"There may be another movement to have a memorial," Bocanegra said. "Anbody can have a memorial service. They've already had a couple public vigils. Because no body or remains have been released to the family for a funeral, there are no legalities preventing other services."
Calls to Terry Smith Sr. today were not returned.
Reid said that Terry Smith Sr. painted a tile for the mosaic today at Painted Earth, the local art studio that donated supplies for the tiles. She said Shawna Smith and other family members came in separately at another time and painted tiles of their own.
According to Bocanegra, initial plans called for a ceremony at Storm Stadium on Saturday, when a volunteer appreciation day for volunteers to many other causes was already planned. But to avoid any conflicts, she said, her group received permission from the Storm to have their own pregame ceremony a day earlier, Friday at 6:30 p.m., prior to the Storm's game against Bakersfield.
Bocanegra and Sarah Reid are scheduled to speak and other volunteers will be recognized. The plaque that will eventually be placed at the center of the Menifee Market mosaic will be presented during the pregame ceremony.
Plans for the event have not yet been finalized and those interested in attending the game and pregame ceremony should not yet call the Storm for ticket information. Additional details on that event will be announced on Monday, Bocanegra said.