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Garden to honor July 4 boating victim Victoria Gaines

Victoria Gaines, 7, died when the boat she

Victoria Gaines, 7, died when the boat she was on capsized and sank in Oyster Bay on July 4, 2012. A lawyer for her family said Victoria was going to turn 8 on July 7. Credit: Handout

Victoria Gaines loved the outdoors, flowers and butterflies, so her family has decided to create “Victoria’s Garden,” a memorial to the 7-year-old who was one of three children killed when a cabin cruiser capsized in Oyster Bay on the Fourth of July.

The garden will be at Huntington Town’s Heckscher Park, where Victoria learned how to ride a bike and roller skate, said her father, Paul Gaines. “She just loved that park.”

The garden will include a small statue of a girl, a “likeness” of Victoria, her father said. He said the family hopes to find one of a little girl with a butterfly. He said the family also hopes to have pavers that would create a winding pathway to the statue.

“This park will be a beautiful and fitting tribute to my daughter Victoria,” Gaines said, adding that he thinks the memorial will be done this spring or summer.

The Huntington Town Board approved the creation of the memorial at Tuesday’s meeting, after the family made its request.

Town spokesman A.J. Carter said the Gaines family will pay for the memorial garden and the town will help with its installation.

Gaines expressed his gratitude to the town, including Supervisor Frank Petrone, Councilman Mark Cuthbertson and director of parks and recreation Don McKay.

“We look forward to the construction process and creating this everlasting tribute,” Gaines said. “We miss her deeply. ... Her brother talks about her every day.”

To make a donation and/or purchase a paver, visit:

The website also has information about her father’s attempt to have legislation passed that would address boat safety issues, which he hopes would be named “Victoria’s Law.” He said he is doing this so other families don’t have go through similar tragedies.


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