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Memorial wall unveiled for Deanna Rivers

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Albany/HV: Memorial wall unveiled for Deanna Rivers
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A warm, welcoming young woman is remembered one year after her death. A memorial wall will now welcome others to Deanna Rivers' home, just as she would have. Innae Park has the story.

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. -- “Deanna spent a majority of her life living at Christinamarie Drive. We can't tell you enough [about] how much she loved living here,” said Deanna Rivers’ father Brian.

That neighborhood is showing their love for her in return.

One year after the crash that took Deanna Rivers' and Chris Stewart's lives, those who saw her grow up refuse to let her be forgotten. Rick Barber began raising funds for this memorial wall, built thanks to private donors. On Saturday, the wall with the plaque of Deanna was unveiled.

Barber said, “With this welcome wall, please keep her smile in mind each time you pass through, as if Deanna was saying, 'We welcome you, and are glad you stopped by.'”

Barber said it would've cost $15,000 to build this wall. However, he didn't have any trouble finding financial and labor support for it, because so many wanted to honor Deanna's memory.

“Everyone was opening up their doors, [saying], ‘What can I do, what more can I do?’” he said. “There's been so much support in this community for the family.”

Brian Rivers said, “Just a beautiful tribute. The community just continues to be by our side and we're very grateful for that.”

Also by their side: the families of the other crash victims. The Hardys, Stewarts and Winds were at the dedication ceremony, in addition to the Shenendehowa Central School District Superintendent and other community members. All were brought together by the memory of a young woman who brought her loved ones such joy.

Deanna’s mother Debbie said, “She was a welcoming person, she loved everyone and she loved her neighbors. She's with us all the whole time, especially now, when you see it when you come home. She's there.”

And so is the spirit of her community.

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