VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Lovers of the water find peace and tranquility on the Lynnhaven River.
"She is from Virginia Beach and a long time resident and she and her brothers and sisters used to be out on these waters all the time," said Brent James, Restoration Coordinator with Lynnhaven River Now.
She – is Mary Louise Gayle, one of the 12 City of Virginia Beach employees killed in the mass shooting on May 31, 2019.
"Mary Lou was the agent at the city who was instrumental in acquiring the bottom area for us to build this lease," said James.
James is working to honor the 65-year-old mother and grandmother on the waterway with a sanctuary reef.
A mountain of oyster shells currently being stored at a local landfill will soon be placed in the water bringing new life to the Lynnhaven.
"It will be about an acre in size on the Eastern Branch," said James. "We will use 10,000 bushel of oyster shells, all of which has been collected area restaurants and oyster roasts."
Her life was lost tragically but it's a life that will live on in the sparkling saltwater .
"You get homes for little shrimps, crabs and fish and snails and everything else in water," said James. "It provides a living memorial for Mary Lou which is so fitting."