Building Memories

Mount Evans Brick Project Paves the Way to a Caring Future

For a path that doesn’t go any place in particular, the emerging Memorial Pathway at Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice can take you as far back as memory’s reach, and as far ahead as memory endures.

“It’s not an original idea, but it fits our mission perfectly,” says Sallie Wandling, Mount Evans’ senior community relations director. “It’s a way for us to honor and remember our loved ones.”

Wandling conceived the idea for a pathway last summer while contemplating – as she often does – the striking bronze sculpture reaching skyward from Mount Evans’ sunny eastern lawn. Standing 14 feet tall and powerfully symbolic, “Peace” was donated and dedicated in 2008 by artist Lorri Acott-Fowler in remembrance of a brother who died at the age of 35 while under the care of an Oregon hospice.

“I thought a pathway would be a way to honor that gift by giving others the opportunity to remember their own loved ones,” Wandling says. “It fits right into our circle of care.”

For an expert’s opinion, Wandling turned to Liz Besant at Bear Creek Landscape Co., who liked the idea so much she immediately drew up an artful proposal that does maximum credit to “Peace” while offering ample opportunities for meditation and remembrance. During four busy days in September, Bear Creek laid the walkway’s first segment – six long steps rising gently to the sculpture’s base and surfaced with ordinary red bricks. In time, Wandling hopes, they’ll be completely paved over with a community’s good wishes and shared memories.

“There are two kinds of bricks you can buy,” she explains. “The first would be as a tribute to somebody important in your life who’s still living. The second would be to remember someone you’ve lost.”

Already, the Memorial Pathway holds inscribed bricks of both kinds, including one purchased by Wandling in remembrance of her father, Red Hogan.

“There are so many people in Evergreen who are from somewhere else, and whose loved ones are buried somewhere else. This is a way for them to have something here. Something that means something. Something they can visit and feel closer to those who’ve died.”

Sallie Wandling

Memorial bricks come in two sizes. A standard 4-inch by 8-inch brick costs $100 and will permit up to four lines of script. For $250, an 8-inch by 8-inch brick will hold thoughts up to six lines long. Whether message or memory, all inscriptions are precisely sand-blasted into the brick, accentuated with a durable black Lithochrome coating, and further protected by a tough, clear finish that will preserve those heartfelt words for generations to come.

“That is really the hope – that this will be a lovely garden where people can bring their children and say ‘this is Grandpa’s brick’. It should be a place where families find peace and continuity.”

Even in its infancy, the Memorial Pathway is already a lovely, peaceful place, with a small bench in a shady spot just right for remembering. Come spring, when the careful landscaping begins to bloom, it will be a perfect little sanctuary celebrating past, present and future in every color of nature. And while the pathway currently extends only a few dozen feet, Besant’s plan provides for two more restful promenades reaching around Mount Evans’ cool northern side, as well as a brick-clad patio embracing the memorial’s towering centerpiece.

As important as the new pathway will be to folks wishing to honor their nearest and dearest, it will be just as important to the folks at Mount Evans. Every brick purchased, every memory enshrined, will be a small, but important, step toward ensuring that Mount Evans’ crucial services remain available to those who so desperately need them.

“It’s more than just a brick,” Wandling says. “It’s care. It’s what we do.”

To find out more about how to honor a loved one with our Memorial Brick Project, please visit the Memorial Brick page.

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