It’s a vision that’s been years in the making: a gift to Calgarians and a gift to the grieving.
A space in South Glenmore Park is about to be transformed into a legacy garden honoring five lives. It will celebrate Lawrence Hong, Josh Hunter, Kaiti Perras, Jordan Segura and Zackariah Rathwell.
Ronda-Lee Rathwell, Zackariah’s mom, said Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony comes with mixed emotions.
“Some days it feels like he was taken from us so long ago and some days it feels like yesterday and some days it feels like he’s still here, so today is happy (and) sad,” Rathwell said.
Design elements featuring the number five will be reflected in the Quinterra Legacy Garden.
Five trees will be planted near five memorial chairs and a five-point star will be embedded in the performance stage.
There will also be outdoor musical instruments to encourage togetherness.
Patti Segura, Jordan’s mom, feels the garden is a place where their children’s spirits can still be alive.
“I want Jordan to keep living in other people. One day I will have grandchildren and I want them to know their uncle Jordan so I will definitely bring them here,” Segura said.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi was on hand for the ceremony and said this is a fitting tribute to the five lives lost.
“They were remarkable people. People full of dreams and imagination and thoughts about the community and what they were trying to build together,” Nenshi said.
“What is so great about this park is it’s so real and true to who those people were.”
Lawrence Hong’s brother, Miles, said this day has been a long time coming.
“Every step has been… Can this actually happen? So today is relief like, wow, it’s actually coming together,” Hong said.
Josh Hunter’s dad, Barclay, said he looks forward to the space becoming a reality later this fall.
“It’s bittersweet. It’s nice to see it come to this point. I wish Josh was here instead, but it’s our reality so we are doing this to honor Josh and the others and to do good things,” Hunter said.
Kaiti Perras’ mom, Shannon Miller, said she felt her daughter’s presence.
“It’s hard to describe when you know in your heart and soul that someone is with you and proud and happy and full of so much love,” Miller said. “It’s an amazing thing… Yeah, she is with us here today.”
The families are still fundraising, hoping to reach their goal of $750,000.
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