Local News

Tuesday, Dec 18 2012 06:25 PM

Family's creation to be on Donate Life's float in Rose Parade

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Chris Robertson works on the memorial portrait of his brother Joshua Keith Robertson who died trying to help as a Good Samaritan. This will be part of a Rose Parade Float on New Year's Day.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Paula Robertson and her granddaughter Irelyn Robertson stand next to each other in Robertson's home. Her son Joshua Keith Robertson was an organ donator after his death in 2009. They are working on a memorial portrait of her son for the Rose Parade Float.

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

The family of Joshua Keith Robertson didn't hesitate when the call came asking if they'd like to participate in creating an item for Donate Life's float in the 2013 Rose Parade.

"This is something he'd want to be a part of," said Joshua's sister, Darrah Robertson.

The floragraph for Joshua Robertson will adorn Donate Life's float Jan. 1 in Pasadena. Called "Journeys of the Heart," the float will also feature floragraphs for 71 other donors from across the country.

What's a floragraph? It's a portrait of each donor made entirely of organic materials, from floral items, grains, seeds, and spices that are ground up to create different colors. These floragraphs will line the float's continuous, 200-foot-long, heart-shaped pathway of looping hearts, according to float organizers.

Joshua's parents, Keith and Paula Robertson, plus other family members, will attend the parade. Paula said Tuesday it's been an emotional experience, but also therapeutic and she's glad her son is being remembered for something positive.

Paula Robertson said she traveled to Pasadena on Saturday and spent the day working on the floragraph with several other family members. It basically involves gluing the materials on a piece of cardboard, but it's time consuming because you have to make sure the shading and shapes are right, she said.

Joshua's dimples, nose and jawline proved difficult to create on the floragraph, but they managed, Paula Robertson said.

"It was good for me," she said of the experience.

Joshua Robertson was 27 years old when he tried to stand up to several men being rude to a restaurant worker on July 17, 2009, according to his family. He was beaten and ended up on life support.

No charges were filed against the men. Then-District Attorney Ed Jagels said at the time that it was determined the other men were acting in self-defense.

Robertson's family eventually took him off life support and gave permission for his organs to be donated. His organs ended up helping six people, Paula Robertson said.

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