Eagle Scout's memorial project comforts grieving parents

Chester. Grant Stevenson said he wanted to 'make something unique that will be for the remembrance of the light these children shined on our world.'

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  • Bereaved parents surround Grant Stevenson at the memorial (from left): Dan and Maureen Mulvey, parents of Danny; Gina and James Dudgeon, parents of Matthew; Eagle Scout Grant Stevenson; Iris Ferraro, parent of Raina; David and Lesley Feldman, parents of Joshua; Joshua’s sister, Maggi Feldman; and Susan and John Barberi, parents of Alyssa. (Photo by Noreen Stevenson)

  • The inscription of the memorial stone reads: “How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only for a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon our hearts.” Dorothy Ferguson. On the bottom are the words: “Dedicated to the memory of the children of Chester.” (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

  • Grant Stevenson with his parents, Noreen and David, at the children's memorial (Photo by Ginny Privitar)

"It’s beautiful, a beautiful job, very thoughtful."
David Feldman, who lost his son, Joshua, two years ago

By Ginny Privitar

Nothing can match the heartbreak of parents who have lost a child. But Scout Grant Stevenson of Troop 152 wanted to do what he could to ease their pain.

That was the intention of his Eagle Scout project: a memorial stone to remember the children in his Chester community who died much too young.

Grant worked on the project for a year and a half, starting with an idea and further developed with a sketch. He discussed the project with his parents, and together they visited the parents of the children he wanted to memorialize.

At each home he explained his idea "to make sure they would be comfortable with it and get their blessing," he said.

With his own work and the assistance of many others, he brought the project to completion with a solemn May dedication at Carpenter's field.

An area at the back of field was set aside for the inscribed memorial, bench, and area of crushed white stone. Two evergreen "Princess" holly bushes adorn the spot.

"I wanted to avoid a memorial that was sad, and instead make something unique that will be for the remembrance of the light these children shined on our world," Grant said during his remarks.

The bereaved parents were present for the dedication and expressed their thanks to Grant.

"It’s beautiful, a beautiful job, very thoughtful," said David Feldman, who lost his son, Joshua, two years ago.

Thanks to all who helped

Grant thanked all those who helped make the memorial a reality.

First, thank you to my fellow Scouts for all their hard work," he said. "Thanks also go out to the Chester Town Board and Parks and Recreation Department for their approval and access to the park. Anthony LaSpina and the Highway Department were helpful in donating manpower and the donation of the white stone. I am very grateful to the Chester Little League for their donation of the memorial bench and Tom Flynn for his early guidance on the project.

"Thank you as well to the Chester Diner for allowing me to hold a fundraiser, and all the family, friends and members of the community who made donations. I'd also like to thank Lowe's and Home Depot for their contributions to the landscaping materials. Thanks to Manza Family Farms for their generous donation of the holly trees.

"And last, but certainly not least, thank you to Benedict Memorials in Middletown for their donation and fabrication of the beautiful memorial stone. I am forever grateful to all of you."

Grant's dad, David Stevenson, reflected on his son's accomplishment.

"I’m extremely proud," said David. "It’s been a long time that he’s been working on this. I’m really glad that he was able to find a project that also resonated with him, and that he was able to do something I think will help the whole community."

Grant, 17, is a senior at John S. Burke Catholic High School. He will be attending Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia next year, majoring in sport marketing.

"I’m just so proud of him," said Noreen Stevenson, Grant's mom. "He’s worked very hard, and he’s very dedicated. This is a really perfect project for him that really benefits the community."

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