As family and friends prepare to celebrate what would have been Ryan Carter’s 14th birthday, they say his memory lives on in a garden named “Labor of Love.”
Ryan was playing with neighborhood friends at a Lakeside mobile home park on Jan. 16, 2012. When a 10-year-old playmate took out a kitchen knife, Ryan stepped in to protect another boy. He was stabbed to death.
Lisa and Glenn Carter say their heart and soul, their only child was taken that day.
“I don’t think five or ten minutes goes by that Ryan’s not on my mind,” Lisa said.
And yet, when the day came to dedicate the garden to Ryan with balloons and a ribbon cutting, they could only be thankful to God and to the many people who love and support them.
“I was just thinking that God has blessed us again,” Glenn said.
The special place is called the Labor of Love Community Garden and now, it includes a children’s garden dedicated in Ryan’s memory.
Lisa and Glenn Carter volunteer at the garden where last year 2,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables were grown and donated to the food bank.
“It’s such a healing when you’re out there,” said Lisa Carter. “And then knowing that all this food is going to help others is just amazing.”
Ryan’s parents said the act of growing something and helping others is an affirmation of life.
“There’s something very affirming about planting seeds, whether it’s seeds in the soil or seeds in the spirit and watching them grow and take root,” Lisa said.
They say Ryan would have loved the garden and that even though he’s not here, their son is still doing good.
“Good things are happening because of him,” Lisa said. “And that just means the world to us.”
The Ryan Carter Fund continues to provide scholarships at the Christian school where Ryan was a student. You can donate at Foothills School.org.
As for the boy who, at age 10, stabbed Ryan – he is getting psychological treatment until he’s deemed competent to face the juvenile court system.