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Monterey Park Honored Residents at Tree Memorial on July 14th

The City of Monterey Park honored three residents for their contributions to the quality of life in Monterey Park with a tree memorial ceremony held at City Hall.


Police Chief Jim Smith introduced the first honoree as Crossing Guard Abel Castellanos, who was killed in a tragic accident while on duty at the corner of Garfield Avenue and Elmgate Street. Mr. Castellanos had worked for the city for more than a decade keeping the students safe while they crossed the busy street. It was a very sad day for his family and the City.  He, along with Fire Chief Scott Haberle, requested this tree bequest in memory of Abel Castellanos’ service to the community.  His family is still dealing with his death. It is important to the City and the 20 crossing guards that protect the children from harm. Abel Castellanos was a friend to the neighborhood. A tree dedicated to his memory with a plaque was installed at George Elder Park within sight of the crosswalk where he worked for so many years.

Fire Chief Scott Haberle and members of Station 62 will also plant a tree in memory of Abel Castellanos after the station is remodeled in the near future.


Ronnie Castellanos, the youngest son, said it has been six months since the tragic accident. We are getting through it. He thanked the City for their support. They are honored and blessed. He thanked his niece, Michelle, for this award. His Dad was a great father. The family thanks you.


Mayor Hans Liang said it is hard to help after such a tragic death. He spoke to Jim Smith, Scott Haberle and the family after the event six months ago. He is proud the City could give the family support. The tree will become a symbol of happiness for Abel. We can never be prepared for these events. It is a great memorial for us to remember Abel Castellanos.

Mayor Pro Tem Peter Chan stated that is a true tragedy. It takes a big heart to be a crossing guard holding a little “Stop” sign against a 5,000-pound car. This memorial is the least we can do for Abel from the City. Please remember his sacrifice for all of us. The tree will remind us of him forever.

Councilmember Stephen Lam stated after this tragedy he spoke with Mayor Liang about a tree to remember Abel. He was a great man. He did his duty to his last moments. Councilmember Lam asked residents to walk and drive safely. He thanked the family members.


Abel Castellanos’ family members received proclamations in his memory from Congressmember Judy Chu, Senator Ed Hernandez, Assemblymember Ed Chau and the City Council.


Mayor Pro Tem Peter Chan introduced the second and third honorees are former three-time Mayor David Lau and his wife Cici who have both been active in Monterey Park for over twenty years. In addition to his twelve years on the Monterey Park City Council, Mr. Lau also served four terms on the Garvey School District Board and received the Golden Apple Award from the San Gabriel Valley Consortium of 20 School Districts. Mrs. Lau has worked diligently to improve the cultural life in Monterey Park, spearheading local productions of “Twelve Angry Men,” “An Enchanted Evening,” and “Hearts of Gold.”

Mayor Pro Tem Chan said the City of Monterey Park thanked them for their efforts and support. He thanked them too.

Mayor Hans Liang said he followed in David’s footsteps into office. They are stars. David sings and Cici is an artist. Their memorial tree demonstrates our “Pride in the Past”.

Councilmember Stephen Lam said David deserves the tree. He has learned a lot from David’s twelve years on the Council. David Lau has done a lot for the City. He thanked David and Cici Lau for their dedication to Monterey Park.


Cici Lau stated that Abel’s family feels the loss. She offered her condolences to his family. She thanked Anthony Wong and Peter Chan for this tree. She also thanked the Tree Committee and the Council for this honor.

David Lau also offered his condolences to Abel’s family. His death is a tragic loss to his family and the City.  He was dedicated to the community and students.

David Lau said we appreciate the City for honoring us with the tree. He thanked Anthony Wong, Peter Chan and the Tree Committee for this honor. He thanked the Council for approving their tree. He thanked the community for their support. He held a Council seat for twelve years and served four terms on the Garvey School Board. He and Cici are honored. He thanked Cici for her love and support. They are happy with the tree. They will still serve the community. He introduced their son, Dr. Michael Lau. Cici Lau introduced several members of her family to the audience.


David Lau, Cici Lau with their son, Michael Lau, received proclamations from Congressmember Judy Chu, Senator Ed Hernandez, Assemblymember Ed Chau and the City Council.


David Lau and Cici Lau’s tree is dedicated to their contributions to Monterey Park. They were surrounded by family members and friends in front of their tree at City Hall.


Family members of Abel Castellanos were joined by firefighters from Station 62, Councilmembers and Police Chief Jim Smith in front of his double trunk tree in front of George Elder Park Clubhouse. His family thanked the City staff for this memorial tree.  They prayed and thanked God for their father, grandfather and uncle who dedicated his life to them and the community. Abel Castellanos’ wife died four months before his tragic death.  The family thanked God for His love and support of their family.

Monterey Park’s tree memorials are awarded after a public nomination process and review by a committee of Community Participation and Recreation and Park Commissioners. For more information, please contact the Recreation and Community Services Department at 626-307-1388. Monterey Park City Hall is located at 320 W. Newmark Ave., Monterey Park, CA, 91754.

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