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Remembering Kelly Tinyes with Forever Young brick campaign

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Nearly 32 years after her death, friends of Kelly Tinyes have begun the Forever Young Kelly Brick Campaign, and are encouraging people to buy personalized bricks and benches in Grant Park in Hewlett, her favorite park.

On March 3, 1989, Tinyes, a 13-year-old Woodmere Middle School student, was babysitting her younger brother, Richard, at their Valley Stream home when they got a phone call from a man who said his name was John. Kelly told Richard that she was heading to a friend’s for a little while. She never returned. Roughly 24 hours later, she was found dead in a neighbor’s basement.

Within a month, police arrested 21-year-old bodybuilder Robert Golub, who lived in the house, after a bloody handprint was discovered on the basement doorway.

After a nearly yearlong trial, Golub was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He later admitted to the killing, saying it was accidental. Dubbed the “Hell on Horton Road” murder, the case attracted national attention for its brutality, and was significant in that it was one of the first cases in the United States to rely on DNA evidence to secure a conviction.

A Hewlett resident named Jensaid that the brick and bench memorials are a positive way to remember her friend. (Jen did not want her last name used, because she remains in fear of Golub, who remains in prison and was most recently denied parole last November.)

“Kelly’s murder devastated the entire community, and life has never been quite the same since,” Jen said “Back in 1989, most Friday nights would be spent at Grant Park to hang out and ice skate. We’ve teamed up with the Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools Endowment Fund and created plans for a memorial at Grant Park.”

The endowment fund is an independent organization of alumni, families and friends who support public-school activities and programs in the Hewlett-Woodmere district. The funds being raised now by community members will be turned over to the endowment fund, which will work with the Nassau County Parks Department on how the construction will be done.

Endowment fund board member David Friedman said that the memorial has been the subject of discussion for almost a year, and noted that the fund’s past working relationship with the Parks Department will help the process move along. “When this idea was brought to us, we thought this would be a really nice thing that can benefit the community and Hewlett-Woodmere students,” Friedman said. “A lot of Kelly’s friends still live in the community and have been donating to this project, which has been great.”

The memorial plan calls for replacing an area of concrete near the park’s entrance with engraved bricks, benches and recreational tables. Fundraising began late last month, and the organizers’ goal is to raise $25,000 raised by Feb. 1. “Any monetary donation is welcomed and appreciated if you don’t want to buy a brick or bench,” Jen said. “If we reach over $25,000 in donations, we’ll donate the additional funds to charity.”

Hewlett native Mindy, who also declined to give her last name for the same reason as her friend Jen, said that roughly $13,200 had been raised as of press time, which she found astonishing. “It’s mind-blowing that this much money has already been raised for this,” Mindy said. “Not only have people that knew Kelly donated, there have also been some businesses who donated to the cause.”

The plan is for work on installing the bricks and benches to begin on or around March 5, which would have been Tinyes’s 45th birthday.

“The amount of donations this has received shows that for anyone who knew Kelly, they put their heart and soul into anything to support her and her family,” Jen said. “Everyone knows the unfortunate story, and after all these years they still want to show their support for Kelly.”

Donations and purchases of personalized bricks can be made at https://bit.ly/2SKfgTD. For more information, contact Mindy at Audi499@aol.com.