All summer, I was on the hunt – toddler in hand – for the perfect park. It was a typical sizzling Central Valley summer, and I really wanted to find an alternative to heading to the local Target to use their free air conditioning (and my impulse buys). You know how the summers get – some days are bearable and some you just have to hibernate indoors until the heatwave passes!
Then one day, someone mentioned a splash pad park in my neck of the woods–close to Clovis, in north Fresno. Todd Beamer Park, on Maple and Behymer was like pure gold to us all season long. As soon as my little and I walked up to the water-lovers haven, I knew I had found something KEY to our hot valley summers! Fountains, splash circles, a magical bucket that randomly dumped water onto the cement (or someone’s head!). And with two full jungle gym sets behind the splash pad setup, and a big open field to kick the soccer ball around – well, we could basically stay there all day. Money.
But it wasn’t until the end of the summer that I started to notice the monument that stood at the entrance to the park, in the circular garden by the main lot. The dedication memorial to Todd Beamer himself. If you’re like me, you go to these little neighborhood parks and know their names by heart, but assume they’re named after donors or Fresno natives, etc. etc. This monument, however, seemed a little more special. I had to stop.
Todd Morgan Beamer was an American software salesman and a passenger aboard the now famous United Airlines Flight 93, the flight hijacked during the September 11 attacks in 2001. Beamer was one of the passengers who so bravely tried to reclaim the plan from the hijackers, eventually crashing into a field near Shanksville, PA. I honestly get goosebumps even typing this to you all. Such bravery.
So what does this have to do with our little city of Fresno, you may ask? Here goes. Beamer actually studied physical therapy at Fresno State University, and played baseball. His dream was to play professionally, but injuries Beamer suffered in a car accident ended those plans. He moved home to Illinois and eventually transferred to Wheaton College, where he met his bride, Lisa Brosious, his senior year. The husband and wife had planned to celebrate their 10-year anniversary just months after the time of his death. Now, this sunshine-filled park, enjoyed by so many kids and future Fresno State Bulldog students, stands to honor this courageous man, Todd Beamer.
There is just so much history and connection in this big little city we live in. I am grateful for the community I see in the valley–from the parks to the people.
Todd Beamer Park
9797 N. Maple
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