By STEPHANIE LONEY
Twenty years ago, on July 10, 1993, the first Kosciusko 4-H Memorial Garden dedication took place. The ceremony was one full of emotion as it served to honor the memory of two active 4-H’ers who died shortly after the conclusion of the 1992 fair, Jeremiah Anglin and Mike Bishop.
The 20th Anniversary re-dedication ceremony began at 12 p.m. Sunday, July 7, with the intention of honoring both deceased 4-H members and leaders and to thank those involved with the creation and upkeep of the Memorial Garden. From the time of its conception, 18 more names have joined Anglin’s and Bishop’s. Just as was true for the last dedication, this event was a bittersweet one — thankful for memories and times spent together, but sorrowful about losing such dedicated and loving people.
Current 4-H members, past 4-H members, and other invited speakers helped to remember the importance and meaning of the garden as well as honors those who the club has lost in the past two decades.
Ashley Helfers and Jasmine Moorehead read the poems “In our Hearts” and “When I Must Leave You.”
Cody Demske, Jessie Demske and Alicia Howell presented the past, history and future of the Memorial Gardens. In the coming years, the Junior Leaders 4-H Club, which is in charge of upkeep of the garden, plans to reroof the gazebo and the 4-H pop stand, located to the left of the Memorial Gardens, among other improvements.
Kayla Long, current 4-H member, introduced Janelle Deatsman, Krista Alm and Shawn Toole, who were 4-H members 20 years ago. They recalled how the construction of the Memorial Gardens helped them to work through their grief about Anglin’s and Bishop’s deaths. “It can’t bring them back, but it can always remind us of them,” said Deatsman.
“Those that are no longer in 4-H will always be a part of this Memorial Garden,” added Toole, now a resident of South Carolina, pointing out how the gardens not only remembers the deceased, but unites the living.
Karen Lowry, the extension educator at the time of the creation of the Memorial Garden recalled how it not only helped the 4-H’ers who worked on it, but also the families. “We do what we do for those that are left behind,” Lowry said.
Justin McBroom read a letter from Sonja Hesser, another former 4-H member, who could not attend the ceremony. Pastor Rob Seewald led a moment of silence and said a prayer of peace and guidance.
After the re-dedication, two more ceremonies followed in quick succession. First was the dedication of the Show Arena in honor of John Anglin, who passed away in 2012. Then the new Dairy Barn also held its opening ceremony and dedication. 4-H provided light refreshments afterword.