The Love family gathers at the 5k event that raised $6,000 to be used for scholarships at the high school he attended.
Photo courtesy Dee Dee Love
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By Rachel Barnes
Kennedy Love had a bright future as an innovative landscape architecture student at Cal Poly.
However, that future was taken away from him when former Cuesta student Gianna Brencola drove drunk and struck and killed him, while he rode his bicycle.
But his family is honoring his memory through a scholarship that recognizes the 22-year-old’s traits in other students.
While Brencola has been in custody and attending court hearings since Love’s death in
August 2017, his family has been focused on continuing the positivity he radiated during life.
In the eight months that his family has been without him, they have been keeping Kennedy Love’s bright spirit alive in many ways.
One way they have accomplished this is through assisting with organizing a 5K walk in his honor at his old high school, Murrieta Mesa High School, to raise money for a scholarship for seniors there.
“We will be awarding three scholarships to students there who have similar characteristics to Kennedy,” his mother, Dorthanna “Dee Dee” Love, said.
The characteristics they are looking for are generosity, dedication to faith, and selflessness.
“It’s ironic that his name is Love,” his mother said.
His family described him as a creative genius that loved others fiercely. His sister, Candise Wade, said that people were amazed at his ability to start a dance party wherever he was — be it a family gathering or small event.
“Kennedy was always on an adventure, and he modeled what it truly meant to love the person in front of him and embrace the present moment,” his sister said.
The night he died, Love, 22, was riding his bike down Foothill Boulevard, near Ferrini Road, at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 29 when Brencola allegedly hit him. Officials said he died soon after the impact only a small distance away from his home in San Luis Obispo.
The 5K was organized by the Murrieta Valley Unified School District and a former coach of Love’s. It took place next to Lake Elsinore decorated with signs that represented Love’s life and character.
They raised over $6,000 from the 5K walk and are hoping to continue the scholarship each year. His mother described it as “beautiful” and “heart-lifting.”
After his death, Love’s sister started an email account called firstname.lastname@example.org for people to submit stories and experiences that they had with him.
The family has received over 150 messages from people all around the world. He was passionate about traveling and had taken a year off of school to work with Engineers Without Borders in Bosnia.
People who knew him wrote about how he had positively impacted their lives and how devastated they were to hear he is gone. His mother said these messages are one of her main outlet for distraction in these hard times.
“We only have a certain number memories with him now,” she said. “That door has closed.”
They enjoy watching old videos of him, according to his father Alfred Love. In fact, three days before Brencola’s sentencing on April 18 they spent what would have been Love’s 23rd birthday at his gravesite watching videos of him.
“The hardest part of this has been just not having him, and knowing that it is forever,” Love’s mother said, holding back tears.