A fitting tribute

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Creekside Elementary School community was joined by volunteers from the First Class Petty Officer Association Naval Command to help plant a memorial garden for 6-year-old Mason Sheets on Saturday.

Mason drowned in a retention pond near his Kempton Park home in March. He had been playing outside and disappeared from his front yard. When his mother alerted neighbors Mason was missing, they began searching, and one spotted his tennis shoes by the water’s edge and the ball he’d been playing with floating on the water.

There was speculation that the ball had gotten away from him and rolled across the street and into the pond, where the boy either chased it or fell in while trying to retrieve it.


Email newsletter signup

A team of grief counselors got to work quickly at Creekside, where Mason was a student, and they helped provide counseling and emotional support to both students and faculty.

The effort by volunteers on Saturday is another example of how the school has pulled together to mourn Mason and to honor him at the same time.

“I just couldn’t imagine something like that,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Rachelle Joseph, one of the volunteers who came out to help. “I just wanted to do something that could possibly bring a smile to the family, and so the kids can remember him.”

The garden will be dedicated during the school’s kindergarten graduation ceremony on June 11. It’s a fitting tribute that, while it could not possibly come close to making up for the loss, will help ensure Mason’s memory lives on at the school.