Next week marks a somber anniversary for the people of Oso, Arlington, and Darrington.
It was March 22, 2014 when a massive landslide took 43 lives and swallowed an entire neighborhood on State Route 530 in Oso.
This year, the community is honoring the victims with a Ride To Remember Oso.
The 28-mile bike ride will take place on State Route 530, the road that connects the three communities touched by the landslide.
The ride will begin in Arlington, go through Oso, and come to an end in Darrington. Organizers say the ride is intended to remember those who were lost, and everyone who was affected by the slide.
The event includes a shorter, more family-friendly trail ride named in honor of 13-year-old JoJo Mangual, who died in the slide along with his step-father and his two younger sisters.
It was a conversation one of Mangual's family members had with a bike shop owner in Arlington that ultimately led to the JoJo Trail Ride and the Ride To Remember Oso.
"That was the inspiration, that was the moment this idea began," said Mark Everett of Arlington Velo Sport Bicycle shop.
He still remembers the day almost three years ago, when JoJo Mangual's father walked into his shop. The two men started talking, and Everett learned Jose Mangual had just lost his son.
Jose Mangual, who is in the military and stationed out of state, bought and built a custom bicycle that bears his son's name. The bicycle then inspired the idea for a bike ride.
"Jose came up with the idea," said Everett. "He said I'd like to come back, and could we ever do something, like a group ride. He said let's do something special."
Everett brought the idea to city leaders in Arlington and Darrington, who decided to use money the cities were awarded during the America's Best Communities competition to turn the dream of a bike ride honoring the landslide victims into a reality.
Mangual's mother, Jonielle Spillers, said her son would be truly honored to know that a portion of the bike ride is named after him.
Spillers was not at home when the landslide hit back in 2014, and was not injured. Her husband Billy Spillers, her daughters Kaylee Spillers, 5, Brooke Spillers, 2, and Mangual were all killed.
Her other son, 4-year-old Jacob Spillers, was rescued after the landslide and survived.
"JoJo was one of the best sons and brother anyone could ask for," said Spillers. "He and the rest of my family are missed so much every day. My heart aches for them every day."
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