Selfless work of beloved Clovis Unified educator continues through new foundation

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fort Washington Elementary vice principal with the wide smile, well known for his photobombing skills and infectious personality, is still managing to be a light to others.

Only now, the beacon shines through what Gavin Gladding left behind. Susan Gladding continues to honor the life he was dedicated to and the students he loved.

"I feel like his life was cut short and so I want to continue to keep his life and what he stood for going on for generations to come," said Gavin's widow, Susan.

Gavin Gladding was training for a marathon when 18-year-old Rogelio Alvarez Maravilla struck him and drove away on Friant Road. He is currently serving a three year sentence. His girlfriend, Fernanda Lopez was a passenger in the car and pleaded guilty to concealing evidence that tied him to the deadly crash. She is serving 210 days in custody.

With the criminal process now behind the Gladdings, the focus now is healing and making a difference. Susan Gladding has started the Gavin Gladding Foundation to continue her husband's meaningful work.

Susan is reminded constantly of the overwhelming love both students and administrators had for Gavin.

"I can't go anywhere in town without somebody coming up to me and saying your husband, he impacted me in this way," Susan said. "It's just, it's pretty incredible and so I am inspired by that."

Last week, a Clovis West senior received the first scholarship in his honor, $2,000 to help with her college education.

Gavin's environmental stewardship will also be reflected in a foundation with a portion of the funds being used to provide more outdoor, hands-on learning opportunities.

RELATED: Words from the heart help sway lawmakers to take closer look at 'Gavin's Law'

Legislation is also in the works to increase the sentence for hit-and-run drivers for up to 8 years. A slightly amended version of Assembly Bill 582, knows as Gavin's Law, will return to the public safety committee in January.

"To see this happening is not only gratifying, but it ensures Gavin's legacy," said Gavin's mother, Rita. "Because he did have a legacy, we want that to live on... and Gavin's Law will do that."

The foundation is still wrapping up the final paperwork process to become a nonprofit. A golf tournament and other fundraisers are in the planning phase.
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