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Son creates wellness center to honor Spring Valley couple

Posted at 12:17 PM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 15:17:36-05

SPRING VALLEY, Calif. (KGTV) — The son of a Spring Valley couple killed in an accident in Hawaii is honoring them by creating a space for others to find peace.

“This isn’t going to get easier, it’s going to get harder," Joseph Harmes says as he talks about the death of his mom, Gladys, and step-father, George Novinger.

The family was vacationing in Hawaii when Gladys and George were crossing a river and fell to their death in 2017. Now almost two years later, Harmes says he’s come to a cross roads with how he’s handling his grief.

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"I can either choose to be a victim of seeing my mom pass or I can make it my biggest reason to honor her in my actions," Harmes says.

Though his mother has been honored by others with her work starting the House of Peru at Balboa Park, Harmes wants to honor her in a personal way. He’s doing so by creating the Hacienda Wellness Retreat Center on their property, the Vineyard Hacienda.

Harmes says his mom always had a love for life, focusing on her mental, physical, and emotional needs. He wants to share that mentality with others.

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The center will feature life coaches, activities like yoga and physical training, and a quiet place to mediate and reflect.

Guests will also learn a lot about Harmes’ mom with reminders of her all over the property, including a tiki statue that Harmes had made in honor of her because of her love for Hawaii — and a reminder of the last time he was with her.

Another touch will be beautifying a koi pond which was a favorite spot for Gladys. He says she named a lot of the koi after aunts and uncles in Spain.

But it’s the support Harmes says he doesn’t physically have anymore that reminds him every day of his loss.

“I think the biggest thing I miss about her is that she was my biggest cheerleader," Harmes added.