Dan O’Connell’s dad, brother reflect on 10 years since tragedyDan O’Connell’s father Tom and brother Mike gave their reflections on the 10-year anniversary of Dan’s death to fellow employee Gabe Schauf. He submitted to following information:
Dan O’Connell’s father Tom and brother Mike gave their reflections on the 10-year anniversary of Dan’s death to fellow employee Gabe Schauf. He submitted to following information:
Feb. 5 marks the 10th year of the passing of a father, son, husband, friend and community leader Dan O’Connell. However to close friends and Dan’s family, it is just another day of remembrance.
“We get many people this time of year who mention that they are thinking of us and thinking of Dan,” said Mike O’Connell. “But this is just one of 365 days that we think about him and miss him.”
But while they miss Dan, the O’Connell family, through their community service and funeral home, focuses more on continuing his legacy and what he did for those around him, especially child abuse prevention.
“Dan worked hard in the community whether making and selling ravioli at Pepper Fest, caring for people as an EMT/paramedic, visiting with companies as an ambassador for the chamber, serving families at the funeral home as they dealt with their grief, or just being a friend and lending an ear to those who needed to talk,” said Thomas O’Connell, Dan’s father.
The O’Connell family has remained active with Pepper Fest, the Hudson Chamber, local churches, Relay For Life, grief support groups and other community organizations. They hope to inspire others to do what they can to make a difference in their neighborhood and in their community.
“The best way we can honor Dan is by doing our part to make things better for those around us, and by living by the Golden Rule – ‘Treat others the way that you would want to be treated,’” Tom said.
The O’Connells also continue to reflect on Dan with the memorial garden located outside their funeral home. Every year, improvements are being made, floral designs and landscapes are changed. Even new items are added such as a prayer to St. Francis or, in this past year, nine words that were inscribed into the pathway, which wraps around the cross centerpiece. These nine words were words that Dan approached every day with, and that the O’Connell family hopes those who walk the garden will be reminded of in their day-to-day lives.
We should always “love” our fellow man and live each day with the “faith” of a child. We should strive to be an “inspiration” to those we encounter and strive to find what inspires us. We need to promote “peace” for all and hang on to the “memories” of our past, and how we got where we are today – especially the good ones. We should treat each person with “sincerity” and “thoughtfulness,” trying to help each other and not just look out for ourselves. Finally, we need to practice “meditation.” Clear away the garbage and focus on the important things in life. And as we go on our way, may we continue to honor those gone before us and hold them in loving “remembrance.”
All are invited to walk the memorial garden any time and reflect and remember those loved ones lost.
“We would like to send out a special thanks to the many garden volunteers, financial donors of the garden project and our friends and community who have supported us through these past 10 years,” Tom said.