Circle of Remembrance dedication
Background to the creation of the Circle of Remembrance
March 12, 2008
On a late spring day in 2007, President Harder, Willis Sommer, Bluffton trustee and landscape architect Jim Basset, and I gathered at this spot to imagine what it would mean to create a permanent place of remembrance and reflection that would be an integral part of Bluffton University Memorial Field and a meaningful part of the campus for current and future students and visitors. Now, on a late winter day in 2008, it is good to be standing at this same place on Bluffton's campus and to participate in its formal dedication and opening to the public.
The Circle of Remembrance is composed of a circular-form walkway on a low rise overlooking the baseball field and oriented to home plate. The limestone capped brick wall and five benches provide an area for gathering, reflection, remembrance and yes (and hopefully soon) - to watch baseball from the right field line. As stated on the commemorative plaque, the circle is intended to honor the 2007 team and remember Zachary, David, Scott, Cody and Tyler. Five Crusader Hawthorne trees and five stone benches along with five plaques help us remember the special qualities of each individual. Here are a few excerpts from these memories:
Zachary Herman Arend, grew up in Oakwood, Ohio, where he loved playing baseball and being outdoors. He was competitive in all sports but with a special passion for baseball. A pitcher at Bluffton, he hoped to one day manage a major or minor league baseball team. Zachary is remembered for his quiet, yet fun loving personality and approach to life.
David Joseph Betts, grew up in Bryan, Ohio, and approached everything with his whole heart including baseball and music. A second baseman for the Bluffton baseball team and a pre-med major, he was contemplating occupations in the science and education fields. David is remembered for the way his personality positively touched everyone he met.
Scott Graham Harmon, a scholar-athlete from Elida, Ohio, was a fierce competitor on the field and a gentleman off the field. At Bluffton, he was majoring in math education and was a third baseman on the baseball team. His ability to see things from every perspective, along with his strong work ethic, helped shape his leadership by example. Scott is remembered as a teacher, coach and loyal friend.
Cody E. Holp, grew up in Verona, Ohio, with a passion for life and family. He loved all sports and was a natural leader who served as a volunteer caretaker for a quadriplegic. At Bluffton, he was working toward a degree in sport management and business and was a pitcher on the baseball team. Cody is remembered for his smiling presence and caring concern for others.
Tyler LaMar Williams, grew up in Lima, Ohio, and lived a life filled with activity, creativity, family and friends. He excelled in many pursuits including music, sports and business. At Bluffton, he majored in business and was an outfielder on the baseball team. He dreamed of being a successful entrepreneur and culinary chef. Tyler is remembered for his radiant love of life and friends.
The landscaped circle, benches and plaques surround a central pedestal and a five foot diameter sculpture, Touching Home. This special work of art was conceived by Greg Luginbuhl, faculty artist. Touching Home is shaped like a pitchers mound and includes physical imprints by all members of the 2007 team. As stated on the commemorative plaque, imprints of baseball cleats in the casting represent the footprints of Zachary, David, Scott, Cody and Tyler and the impact they have left on all of us. They are surrounded by the touch of the hands of their teammates and coaches today, tomorrow and into the future.
So, today we gather to formally dedicate this Circle of Remembrance as a special and permanent place of remembrance and reflection. It has been a work of faith to be part of this process for all involved. Bluffton is deeply grateful for the participation of families, players, coaches and those who cannot be here today in completing the circle and Touching Home. I want to especially thank families for working with us on the creation of the five individual memorial plaques.