The La Verne community gathered Saturday at Wheeler Park to honor Bonita High School alumna Jordyn Rivera, who was a victim in the October 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting.
Rivera was an avid softball player. The Saturday ceremony was to rename the park’s South Field after her.
“I know she is looking down on us this very instant and smiling about the season we are about to begin,” said La Verne Mayor Don Kendrick.
“We will always miss you Jordyn, but we will also always honor you.”
Kendrick honored Rivera by announcing the change of name from the South Field to the Jordyn Rivera Memorial Softball Field.
He also honored the La Verne Girls Softball Association with a certificate of recognition on their opening day.
“It is an honor for the La Verne City Council, on behalf of the citizens of La Verne, to name this field the Jordyn Rivera Memorial Softball Field,” Kendrick said. “The softball diamond was her heaven. This field is dedicated today, February 24th, 2018, in honor of Jordyn.”
“I used to watch her play there,” said Kayleena Thorp, a friend of Rivera’s and a senior at Cal Poly Pomona, who was at the ceremony.“So it felt especially good,” Thorp said.
Thorp said she remembers seeing her friend frequently playing softball at the Wheeler Park.
“I always knew she’d always play there, and that was her favorite spot to be at and it felt really good.”
Thorp described Rivera as a compassionate and genuine person, someone that everyone loved to be around.
John Malarkey, president of the La Verne Girls Softball Association, knew Rivera personally after many years of being a team parent.
“(Rivera was) fun-loving and easy-going,” Malarkey said. “You couldn’t ask for a better person.”
Rivera was clearly loved in the La Verne community. In additional to the field’s renaming the Softball Association held a memorial game for her following the shooting in October, Malarkey said.
“The fire department and the police department were here for a good amount of the game,” Malarkey said.
They donated platters of food and enough water for the entire day, he added.
The decision to name the field after Rivera was first brought forward as an idea by Kendrick, then readily agreed upon by all members of the La Verne City Council.
“It was presented as an idea to our board, and then our board voted to dedicate the field to her,” said Paige Ramos, registration coordinator of the Softball Association.“It was a unanimous vote.”
The opening season ceremony also welcomed Malarkey as the new president of the Softball Association, after having been a board member since 2010.
“One of my goals in being president this year is to improve on what we already have going,” Malarkey said. “If you think you can make it better, join our board.”
The Softball Association has more than 200 girls in its league, with 18 separate teams ranging from 6-year-olds to 14-year-olds.
The opening day ceremony welcomed back old and new faces alike for the new 2018 softball season.
“La Verne is a city that loves to thank people and remember our residents,” said Kendrick.
“Today we are going to continue this legacy, a legacy to remember those we love and honor them in the most appropriate way.”
Jocelyn Arceo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.