Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Living Tree Celebration

While the rest of the world focused on the election, we had a little pine tree on our minds on Election Day.

Yesterday morning we planted a pine tree in Central Phoenix's Granada Park in Steven's honor, as part of the City of Phoenix Living Tree Celebration program. We chose Granada Park, and specifically, a location near the starting line for Brophy cross country meets, because Steven ran many cross country meets there. During cross country season many will run by his tree, and every other day of the year his tree is kept company by a flock of birds who gather in desert brush just a few feet away. Steven's pine is located on the west side of Granada Park, close to the sidewalk leading off 20th Street, just north of Maryland.

A plaque will be installed in about six weeks with his name and a few of Steven's inspiring words. We hope runners and park visitors find in these few words the inspiration Steven blessed us with. Mostly, we hope it will be a peaceful spot, meaningful to Steven, where all can visit to think about him.

Steven's tree was blessed by Monsignor O’Grady, a very special priest to Steven. It's hard to find words to express what a wonderful man Monsignor O'Grady is; you feel at peace in his presence and want him to keep talking and not leave. He read scripture and blessed Steven's tree. As we stood talking with him, he commented how he had pondered the meaning of a "sacramental" and how, by its very meaning, Steven's tree is a sacramental for all of us, to help and bless us. Suddenly Steven's beautiful pine became even more special by Monsignor O'Grady's blessing and words. Though emotional, it was special.

Stop by and leave a note or flowers at Steven's pine anytime. For those not in the area, here are some photos of the tree and the park:

the new King of Granada Park (little guy in the center) with his flock of birds

Thank you so much to the following families for donating the tree in Steven's honor. It is a wonderful way we can honor him and keep the memory of his wonderful spirit alive forever:

DiCarlo Family, Nagaki Family, Heiland Family, Lundy Family, Thompson Family, DiSantiago Family, Perkey Family, Circello Family, Fairburn Family, Behrendt Family, Novotny Family, Ross Family, Parise Family, Nicchi Family, Mel Terkelson and Ryan Burke, Palazzalo Family, Jackson Family, Bickman Family Bonono Family, Heinley Family, Amrhein Family, Tanaka Family, Burruel Family, Hill Family, Esahak-Gage Family, Rhea Family, Stern Family, Beaudoin Family, Coltin Family, Gordon Tylor Family


GoldenAngelsWorks said...

What a wonderful way to remember Steven. God Bless you all.

Diane said...

Granada Park looks so beautiful. One day soon, I hope that I might see Steven's blessed tree for myself. Thank you so much for the beautiful blog Jenny. In the meantime, all my thoughts and prayers are for Steven, and his entire family. God bless you all.

Aunt Diane

Anonymous said...

That looks and sounds like a beautiful place and wonderful thing to do in his memory. I hope to visit someday...I love you all so much and think of you often.

Cousin Kimmy

Robert said...

im sitting here in chicago watching the asu v uofa game and cant stop thinking about steve. when we went to school together at seattleu he hated uofa and loved asu. of course one day he started grad school at uofa, i never had the nerve to ask him why he would do such a thing after hating uofa his whole life. i now wish i had because of course it would have lead to a fired up steve manos, and by that i mean lots of yelling and a guaranteed "wooooooooo, well we do."

the last time i ever saw steve was when the two of us ran around an arizona mountain. we had not seen each other for a couple of years but we naturally fell into place. a day does not go by without thinking of steve, he is missed but never forgotten.

GoldenAngelsWorks said...

I wanted to stop by and wish all Steven's family and friends a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Mudge said...

We made it through our first Christmas without Steve, and although he was missed his presence was felt in all the funny memories recapturing his one liners and expressions - mostly from old movies and shows. Jenny surprised us at the airport Christmas night with a Phoenix layover on her way from North Carolina to Salt Lake. We all dashed in the car to spend the hour with her. It was a wonderful way to end our day as she was also greatly missed. We look forward to her return on the 29th.

Seems lately we have been inundated with bad news regarding illness of many friends...mostly cancer. I ask myself, has there always been this much going on around us and I was oblivious to it? I am losing my optimism I'm afraid. I keep being reminded of a line I listened to on each weekly drive to Tucson when I prayed the rosary for Steven from a tape with quotes from St. Theresa. She said, "In spite of all obstacles God accomplishes what He wills." I'm not always very fond of what I don't understand when it comes to God's will, but I am working on accepting it. Love to all...Jean

Anonymous said...

All my love to the family and friends of Steve. I ran into one of Steve's cross-country teammates from Brophy. We chatted about high school and cross country/track and how much Steve and Ben Perky will be missed. His memory is definitely alive in our hearts. I know it will never be easy to spend the holidays (or any day) without Steve, but he is still very much alive in the hearts of those of us lucky enough to have known him.
God Bless and again, all my love.
Sara Siesco

lking said...

Hey Baby,
Today is one of the days that I woke up thinking about you. I just wanted to send you a note to tell you how much I love you and how much you are missed. Give Poppie my love....

The Dude said...

hello to everyone. thank you for writing and writing some more even when the message board dies down a bit. there is much to be said and heard in silence as well. take care. saw ellie and kai and coach brian and paula last week in seattle. they are all well. as well as michael hughes and his champ of a wife, Megan, who brought Clover into this world last week.

Mudge said...

Matt's post inspired me to write again, as well as the birth of Clover (Happy Birthday), and the death of one of my student's fathers. Her dad had oral cancer also and we kept track of each other's situation with updates and hugs all last spring. When I returned in Aug. I dreaded telling her Steven had died and the cancer had been too strong. Her dad had his entire tongue and jaw removed and she was very hopeful. They thought it was gone. Visiting with her family today I recognized the place they were at and how thankful I was we were beyond that initial horrid grieving and shock period. I wanted to tell her Grief new mantra along with "Cancer Sucks", but I didn't think it appropriate being as I presented myself as a school professional...also, because I don't know how it would translate in Spanish. I also wanted to tell her, "Life goes on. You just don't want it to." I get it, but I stayed silent knowing there is nothing worth saying because the only thing they would really want to hear is if I had some miraculous way to bring him back. I remember searching for a way to feel the connectedness like standing in front of The Medium's house hoping Steven would bring her out so I could talk to him through her. Silly, but necessary. I need to feel connected to him. Now I realize when I check his blog and see a new number and it's someone like The Dude I am staying connected. I know you are then missing him too, and he must be nudging us to write. I have decided to pay more attention to my instincts when they say, "Pick up the phone and call ...., or stop by and visit..." Usually I would find a reason to talk myself out of it. That is something I am working to get better at...responding to prompts, whether they be from the Holy Spirit, or Steven, I'll never know. Hopefully both, and they are working together "for the good of the order." Love to all.

Word is a bigger tree will be planted in place of his old one soon along with a plaque. Hopefully it will be left for all to enjoy. Jean

Diane said...

I need to remember to visit this blog more often. I am glad that a new tree will arise in the place of the one that was stolen. I still hope to get to Granada Park to see it sometime. Jean, you know that I think of Steven, you, and the entire family everyday. I truly know that we are all connected with each other whether our bodies are dead or not. My prayers go out to the family of the student who lost his father. God bless you all.

Aunt Diane

Mudge said...

Today the Living Tree Memorial saw its completion. The new, and slightly larger than the last, tree is in place along with the plaque in the ground. Jenny found 5 of Steve's old highschool running medals and had them put in the cement around the plaque. There wasn't much room for quotes, but it says part of his quote from the Seattle U. article, "You want to finish the race and feel like, 'I gave it all I had.'" A little incentive for future Brophy Cross Country runners who will see it before a race.

The park's lady told us that there is a man that lives near the park they suspect has chopped the tops off of pine trees and dug up trees, such as Steven's first one, but they just can't catch him. She assured us this one weighs @ 300 lbs. and would not be sprouting walking legs.

Thanks again to all who contributed to this perfect memorial where we can go and spend time with our thoughts of Steven.

Kerrie said...

I am glad there is some place beautiful and peaceful for family and friends to go. It sounds like the addition of the running medals make it very special.

Much Love, Kerrie

Diane said...

It is wonderful to hear that the new tree is in place, with the plaque, medals, etc. What a beautiful memorial! I cannot wait to see it. Steve will be inspiring many for years to come. God bless you all.

Aunt Diane

Lynn said...

I am also glad that a new tree has been planted, but to be honest-I see Steven in every good deed that is done. I miss him terribly, and wish I could give him a "soft hug and kiss", but we are so lucky to have Jen in our lives. Steven has inspired me to make my live worth living, by trying to make a positive difference in someone's life each day.

Anonymous said...

Just thinking about all of you and keeping you in our prayers.
Mary N.