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Grover Beach considers bench that would honor dog attack victim David Fear

David Fear, shown here with longtime partner Terry Lopez, died after sustaining injuries in a December dog attack in Grover Beach.
David Fear, shown here with longtime partner Terry Lopez, died after sustaining injuries in a December dog attack in Grover Beach.

A bench honoring David Fear, who was killed in a December dog attack, could soon be installed in Fear’s Grover Beach neighborhood.

The 5-Cities Men’s Club approached the Grover Beach City Council in early April for permission to install a bench and sign on public property at the end of Nacimiento Avenue near the Meadow Creek Open Space — just a few feet away from where Fear, 64, was fatally injured and his 85-year-old neighbor severely hurt when they were attacked by dogs.

Fear and neighbor Betty Long had known each other since Fear was a teenager growing up in Grover Beach. Neighbors on Nacimiento Avenue for 17 years, the two were chatting on the sidewalk when a Belgian Malinois and German shepherd ran up and attacked. Long has said Fear sacrificed his life for her.

“He was a great man; he was a hero, even before this happened,” Fear’s nephew Corey Smaw told the City Council on April 3. “We would love the bench right out there, right across the way, so we could go sit with him, you know?”

We would love the bench right out there, right across the way, so we could go sit with him, you know?

Corey Smaw, David Fear’s nephew

The item was not on the agenda for that night, so the council couldn’t take action at the time. Now the bench is scheduled to go before the council for approval Monday.

The memorial bench would feature a concrete surfboard-shaped seat on steel supports painted to look like bamboo. The accompanying sign would feature the inscription: “Our Hero, Salty Dog, Dave Fear.”

The inspiration for the bench comes from Fear — whose nickname was “Salty Dog” — and his love of surfing. According to Men’s Club President David Ekbom, the suggestion for a bench came from Terry Lopez, Fear’s partner of 25 years.

“He died, that’s the definition of a hero. He came to rescue someone and he died for his efforts,” Ekbom said. “We’d like to do something to recognize that.”

The bench and its installation will be entirely funded by the club.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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