Skateboarding was not just a pastime for Brandon Koch, it was a major component of his life. That is why Koch’s family and friends can think of no better way to honor the memory of the 26-year-old who lost his battle with adrenocortical cancer on April 12, than by renaming the Turlock Skate Park the Brandon Koch Memorial Park.
Koch’s aunt, Judith Suliman, remembers her nephew’s excitement when the Turlock Skate Park was built and the hours he spent there as a teen. His passion for the sport did not diminish after he graduated from Turlock High. He would spend as much time as he could skateboarding, she said.
“When he got sick all I thought about was him skateboarding and how he used to teach the little kids,” Suliman said. “It just tears my heart apart.”
When the idea of starting a petition to rename the skate park came about, Suliman was surprised and touched by the response of the community.
“It’s amazing the outpouring we’ve gotten from Turlock,” she said.
Koch’s family and friends started collecting signatures on ipetitions.com a few months ago, and have already received 253 as of Friday. Many of the signatures are accompanied by memories of Koch.
“Brandon is the one person i know that would drop what ever he is doing to help a friend out. he also is by far the best skate boarder i have ever met. he is not some thug that goes around hurting people. he has a huge heart that he wears on his sleeve. these are just a few reasons why i feel the park should be named after him,” wrote Brian Demello on ipetition.
“Brandon is such an amazing guy. He is nothing but loyal, loving, caring, sweet, and will do anything for anyone wwho needs it. God blessed my family by putting him in our lives and I'm proud to call him my friend. What an honor it would be for the skate park to be named after such a stand up guy. Skating is such a huge part of his world and he loved being at the park, skating and teaching other kids,, like my son new tricks and helping them be confident in their skating ability. Love this guy!” wrote Lindsey Ellis.
George “Georgie Boy” Fagundes was not surprised by the skateboarding community’s response to Koch’s dying wish to be remembered.
“A lot of the friends he met in life was at the skate park,” Fagundes said. “It was a ritual for him to get up in the morning and go there. Nobody had a bond (to the skate park) like him.”
Fagundes has been spreading the word about the online petition and collecting written signatures. He has collected 63 physical signatures and hopes to get 2,000 people to sign the written or online petition before submitting it to the Turlock City Council for consideration.
Suliman and Fagundes have already been in contact with the City of Turlock Recreation Department and are making preparations for the project to move forward. Part of that is raising the money to pay for the expense of renaming the park.
A benefit concert will be held on May 18 at the Grizzly Rock Café located at 4905 N. Golden State Boulevard. Vinyl stickers with a picture of a skateboard and purple ribbon were also created in honor of Koch and being handed out for a $1 donation towards the cost of renaming the park.
“What better way to commemorate his life?” said Fagundes.
To sign the online petition to rename the Turlock Skate Park in honor of Brandon Koch, visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/brandon-koch-skate-park/signatures