CHURUBUSCO — It stands like a beacon in the Churubusco Eagle Memory Garden. The gazebo is a new place for the community to enjoy. It was dedicated Thursday night.
“This beautiful gazebo is a pure tribute to the people of Churubusco,” said Steve Darnell, superintendent of Smith-Green Community Schools.
Cathy Petrie, SGCS board president, recited the history of this project.
“The idea of the Churubusco Eagle Memory Garden began two years ago with a terrible auto accident that tragically took the lives of CJSHS students Andy Spencer and Megan Young,” said Petrie.
“After that event, Interim Superintendent Bruce Hippensteel shared with the school board the concept of the West Noble High Memorial Garden.
“Churubusco Elementary School Librarian Julie Mast served as a bridge between West Noble and the school board to share ideas. Under the direction of Mr. Darnell, the Eagle Garden committee was formed. Tonight, you see an addition of a gazebo. It is a direct result of the committee, staff, students and our community,” said Petrie.
The history of the Eagle Garden began with the people of Noble County’s Green Township and the people of Smith Township in Whitley County committing to educate the children in Churubusco.
“It started with dedicated staff who chose to pour their careers into our students. It started with students who worked hard to succeed with their education,” said Petrie.
Some of the bricks in the garden’s walkway date back to the 1930’s.
Members of the Eagle Garden Committee include John Barrett, Julie Mast, Kira Sturgis, Tina Biddle, Chris Meyers, Colleen Wielosinski, Steve Darnell, Cathy Petrie, Cindy Zollinger, Kari Hyndman and Jeff Rosswurm.
CJSHS Key Club President Kaitlyn Hockerman welcomed the entire community to enjoy the new gazebo and garden. She then dedicated it.
Future features of the Eagle Garden include many more plants, a water feature and benches.
“But the bigger future of the Eagle Garden depends on us. You as a community have been committed to the students of Smith-Green. Now we students are here to say that we are committed to the growth of this place of honor and memory,” said Hockerman.
“To those students, teachers and community members who have given their time, but are no longer here with us; and to those groups and dates that have a place of honor in our memories, we say ‘Thank You’ for laying a firm foundation. This heritage will serve to inspire us and those who come after us to lift up Smith-Green as a place to learn, love and laugh,” said Hockerman.
The CES singers, under the direction of Sue Lough, sang “Swingin’ On A Star” in memory of those who have lost their lives while at SGCS.
Darnell read the names of the donors. (See Remembered and Honored)
Boy Scout Troop 81 presented the United States and Indiana flags and the CES Chimers played the national anthem. After the reading of the donors, Mark Cheshier, CJSHS teacher, played “Taps” and there was a moment of silence followed by the CJSHS New Era Show Choir singing “Irish Blessing Song.”
Jon Pelz, Youth For Christ director, offered a meditation and celebration of the lives at SGCS.
“In the past two years I’ve gotten to know who are on the Remembered and Honored list due to their stories of their families,” Pelz said. “I’ve learned that Churubusco is a place where there is love and connections. That’s what great about living in Busco is to love and know. It’s alright to cry tonight or anytime you come to this place.
“God doesn’t just want you to hear of Him. He wants for you to know Him. We are here to celebrate the memories of those who have gone on before. We want to celebrate the lives that are here. We want to celebrate that this is a place where we can cry and laugh,” said Pelz.
The evening concluded with a reception with cake and punch. Around 300 people attended the event.
Remembered and Honored
Eagle Garden Gazebo Plaques (which engraved brass plaques on the side of the gazebo).
In Memory of: Andy Spencer, Megan Young, Gregory “Boog” Shanabarger and Jared Michael Hyndman.
In Honor of: Jeff Rosswurm; volunteers, Dan Comparet, Bob Tartaglia, Helen Laws, Jack and Mary Myers, Julie Mast, Pearson Family, SGCS 2012 Board of Trustees, Churubusco Family Dentistry, Chuck Jones Family, John and Cathy Petrie Family, Luther and Becky Gross Family, CJSHS Class of 2012, Young and Spencer families, Churubusco McDonalds, Northeastern REMC, CJSHS Key Club, Churubusco Rotary Club, Richard and Cindy Zollinger and Auburn Kiwanis Club.
Eagle Garden Walkway Pavers
In Memory of: the Uecker Family, Bill Monesmith, David S. Moore, Tracy Lynn, John S. Young, Douglas Tod Pressler, Charlie Miller, Russell Egolf, Gerald Hively, Allan Egolf, Madelene Hively, Tracy Stillwell, Tom Fletcher, Jared Hyndman, Cameron Amber, Miranda L., Florence G McDaniel, Gene and Maryann Shambaugh, Orlie Maggert and George Blackburn.
In Honor of: “Mr. D” Paul Daily, Sherry Johnson, Leonard “Ace” Hazen, Dennis Hively, Brenda Saggars, Bryan Tiede, Margery (Rhoads) Frick, Paul David (PD) Rhoads, Mary Jane (Rhoads) Myers, Jeffrey T. Green, Green Township Eager Beavers and Helping Hands, Dick and Judy Littlefields, SGCS Central Office, Green Center United Methodist Church, Childs Family and Sheets & Childs Funeral Home, David and Beverly Salomon.