TURLOCK -- Dozens of people were honored by the Turlock City Council Tuesday night for helping a local Sikh man who was the victim of an attack that Stanislaus County detectives are investigating as a possible hate crime.
Surjit Singh Malhi said he was putting up signs for Congressman Jeff Denham in the community of Keyes on the night of July 31 when he was attacked by two men who hit him, threw dirt in his face, swore at him and spray painted his car with racist graffiti.
A few days later, dozens of community members went over to Malhi's house to help him wash away the graffiti and beautify his yard. The group was made up of people who workout with Malhi at the CrossFit ParaBellum gym and members of a local Mormon congregation. All were honored by the city council.
"You can't overcome hate with more hate," said CrossFit coach Marie Stucker, one of the community members who helped Malhi. "I feel like you need to show love and compassion and to drown out that hate. And hate will never win and love is always going to prevail."
As news of the attack on Malhi has spread, he has received many messages of support.
"The whole country is standing for me, you know," Mahli said. "I feel so good. I feel one nation under God."
Malhi expressed his love for the U.S. It's a love that has grown deeper as people have reached out to him with kindness over the past several days.