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Catholic Widow of San Bernardino Victim Invited to Attend State of the Union

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 01/09/16

Details: 

The other four from the Inland Empire who will attend Tuesday night’s speech at the Capitol at the invitation of lawmakers are:
  • James Parnell, director of patient care for the adult emergency department at Loma Linda University Medical Center;
  • Trenna Meins, widow of of Damian Meins, one of 14 people shot to death;
  • San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon; and
  • San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan;
“To have the opportunity to be there is special,” Burguan said. “It is an honor,” McMahon said. Trenna Meins was invited by Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside. She will be accompanied to Washington, D.C., by her daughters, Tina and Tawnya. The Meins family had not responded Friday night to an email requesting reaction to attend the State of the Union.

About Damien Meins: 

Damian Lawrence Meins was described as a modest and private man who would be “overwhelmed and embarrassed” by the attention he’s received since his death, said his wife, Trenna Meins, in a eulogy delivered Friday, Dec. 11. For the family, however, Meins said the outpouring of support from the community for her husband, whom she called a “selfless man,” has “warmed our hearts.” Meins delivered the remarks to a crowd of around 600 people who attended the service at St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in Riverside. It was presided over by Bishop Gerald Richard Barnes, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino. Father Art Mateo delivered the homily. Damian Meins, 58, grew up in Jurupa and Rubidoux and lived in Riverside for nearly 40 years. He was one of the 14 people killed on Wednesday, Dec. 2 in the mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. “Damian’s death and those of 13 other people was not God’s will,” Mateo said during the 80-minute funeral Mass to a standing room-only crowd. “My greatest consolation is that his death will not end in tears. God will triumph over evil and wipe away our tears.” The church is across the street from Trenna and Damian’s alma mater, Notre Dame High School, where they met as teens and fell in love. On May 5, 1979, they were married in St. Catherine’s. A year ago, Damian Meins taught art at the church elementary school where he painted an outside mural.
…Trenna Meins said her husband was the type who would kiss the top of her head, make her favorite breakfast or surprise her on the spur of the moment with a slice of watermelon. “You just can’t tell people you love them,” he used to tell Trenna. His daughters reminisced about the family’s recent trip to Cambodia. On the memorial program there’s a picture of them and their dad at the largest religious monument in the world, the Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap Province. They talked about how he “loved freely and thought life was a beautiful adventure,” which he lived to the fullest by reading, learning, traveling the world, painting, working on cars and sipping port while dreaming by his fish pond. His daughters referred to their dad as a peacemaker, a giver who put others first, and a calm, rational man slow to anger. The family expressed no anger or bitterness during their short eulogies. They asked mourners to continue “performing small acts of kindness, as Damian always did.”

Reports elsewhere noted that Trenna Meins is the principal of a local Catholic school.

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