Remembering Sandy G.

LIHUE — Lawrence Mendonca holds his daughter, Sandra Mendonca Galas, in his heart every day.

“She was our flesh and blood,” the Kapaa man said. “We miss her very much. We cherish her and we will always keep her in our memories.”

Others remember and miss her, too.

“Sandy was so bright and had just an amazing future in front of her,” YWCA executive director Renae Hamilton said. “I think what really stood out was that she was so caring.”

Galas was found dead in her garage at her home in Eleele on Jan. 25, 2006, from strangulation and blunt force trauma to her head, according to a medical report. The case remains under investigation.

The “Sandy G. Memorial Garden,” a tribute to her started two years ago, will be complete soon when Lawrence Medonca and the YWCA place two bronze cranes next to the memorial.

The cranes will be placed in the memorial’s grounds in the next couple of weeks and will represent Galas’ two sons. A plaque will also be placed next to the cranes to explain their representation.

Mendonca described his daughter as an ambitious woman who loved life and wanted to take part in many activities including gymnastics and hula as she was growing up.

“She was looking at a few other things where we had to say, ‘No, wait, you don’t have enough time.’ ‘Well, I’ll make time’ and this went all the way through elementary school,” Mendonca said.

Hamilton is pleased the memorial is almost done.

“They (the cranes) really are beautiful and they’re going to give such a beautiful addition to the garden,” she said.

Mendonca designed the memorial along with his cousin, who came up with the idea to place two bronze cranes next to the monument that was displayed on May 15, 2013.

“I put my heart and soul into this and I’ll continue to do it,” Mendonca said. “So it’s just something beyond my wildest imagination.”

The search for the cranes took more than two years. Ted Shanks, a blacksmith and owner of Kipu Forge who was commissioned to help with the memorial, was walking along the streets of Portland two weeks ago when he saw two bronze cranes in a shop. He knew they were would be perfect for the memorial.

“It was awesome,” Shanks said. “I was really excited and I felt really great to tell the guy the story about what it was for.”

The cranes cost about $1,000.

Mendonca hopes the completed monument will be a reminder to end domestic violence. He also said his dream of making Gala’s story known has been fulfilled.

“Her name is there,” Mendonca said. “Her story has been told and hopefully that monument or memorial will be there beyond my life. This is my final hope.”

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