Yesterday was an exciting day for the town of Winthrop, which got its very own Peace Pole and memorial bench dedicated to Tom Sturtevant, a long-time Winthrop resident who died in January of 2012. Tom was many things, including a friend, a teacher, a peace activist, a husband, and a father. Here is what I wrote about Tom not long after he died: “There are many ways to promote peace, and Tom’s involvement with various peace groups was one way, but helping to make the community—in this case, Winthrop—a better place is another way of promoting peace, which starts at home. Tom volunteered at the Winthrop Food Pantry and with Meals on Wheels. He helped establish the Winthrop Community Gardens and was involved with the Inch-by-Inch Garden project for the Winthrop Grade School.” Tom was also involved with the library expansion.
Tom was tall, lanky, soft-spoken, brave, and resolute. I still remember how at the November 2011 board meeting at the Winthrop Food Pantry, two people rode their bikes on that brisk day: Me and Tom, who was in his 80s. I sure miss seeing that man biking or walking around town. I miss hearing that soft-spoken voice.
To honor this man who gave so much of himself to peace and to the community, the Winthrop Area People for Peace got permission from the Winthrop Town Council to put a Peace Pole and a bench in the Inch-by-Inch Garden at the grade school. (Here is a description of what a Peace Pole is.) All the money for this project came from private donations, and the granite for the pole and the bench came from Tom’s house in Winthrop. How appropriate!
All summer was spent planning, organizing, and raising money for the Peace Pole and bench, and yesterday the big day for the installation finally arrived. John Jennings, owner of Forgotten Stoneworks, and his assistant David Krantz came with their equipment to install the Peace Pole and the bench. Margy and Steve Knight and Clif and I were there to supervise and be enthusiastic cheerleaders. To say we were thrilled by the Peace Pole and bench is a vast understatement. Ecstatic might be a better word. Did we jump up and down a little? Probably not. But I know I felt like doing so.
All went smoothly, and within an hour so, the pole, which according to Steve, weighs about 1,300 pounds, and the bench were in place in the Inch-by-Inch Garden. The phrases inscribed on the sides are: “May Peace Prevail on Earth”; “Be the Change You Wish to See”; “Let Peace Begin with Me”; and “Inch by Inch…Gonna Make this Garden Grow.”
On Sunday, November 3 at 1:00 p.m., there will be a Peace Pole Celebration at the Inch-by-Inch Garden by the Winthrop Grade School. A reception will immediately follow in the Winthrop Town Hall. Everyone who knew Tom (or who would have liked to have known Tom) is invited to come. We are anticipating a big crowd. Tom, you are still missed, and you are certainly not forgotten.
Peace Pole Slide Show: