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Leaving a Hall of Fame Legacy

October 11, 2021

Grief can be an exhausting tangled web of emotions. In one moment, laughter erupts from a shared memory from a loved one gone too soon, and the next inconsolable tears fall from the realization of all that will never be shared again.  The rollercoaster of emotions that we experienced this past weekend is a perfect example of a brutiful experience.  An absolutely amazing and wonderful honor was bestowed upon Reed (and many others, including those who went to heaven with him) and yet emotionally exhausting for those of us who carry on his legacy.  Simultaneously, both beautiful and brutal.

While we were given some recognition for a conversation that led to the creation of the new Lakeview Hall of Fame, I feel the honor of that achievement goes to our good friend for planting the seed and for the current school principal who along with the committee members really made the Hall become a reality.  They are the true reasons to celebrate this achievement.

Like many pandemic experiences, this one, too, had to wait until it was safe to gather.  But the organizers picked the most awesome time to reschedule, Homecoming 2021.  The weekend started with the homecoming football game where the families or honorees were to be announced at half-time.  The inaugural class consisted of eight individuals and two teams.  Because we feel that Reed’s greatest legacy is the way he loved others and created chosen family, we invited both biologic and chosen family to stand with us for the weekend.  To be entirely, honest, I am not sure I could have done it without our children and extended family surrounding us with love. 

As we walked out on to the football field, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of comforted joy because I realized that those who love us the most were either present at the game or watching the live stream.  The love which binds us together is one of Reed’s greatest legacies.  We watched and cheered for all of the other inductees, and we were completely in awe of the 1980s girls’ basketball team who wore their letterman jackets to the field.  What a cool touch of the legacy of champions they created.

Photo by Jacki Kyllonen
photo by Jacki Kyllonen
Photo by Jacki Kyllonen
Photo by Jacki Kyllonen. I am hugging the boys junior football coach, Coach Grandpa!

Friday night’s festivities were followed by a Saturday morning induction ceremony and brunch. Before we entered the school, we gathered as a family and prayed around the flagpole that once stood as a marker of one of Reed’s greatest achievements as a Laker, bringing back the See You at the Pole event. Holding hands together and saying a prayer thanking God for our ability to join as a family and to be the keepers of Reed’s legacy warmed my heart and steeled my courage.

As a former teacher of the school, I was excited to learn the stories of the other inductees.  While I didn’t know any but the most current honorees, hearing the stories of achievement of individuals from years gone by was truly awe-inspiring.  A few tiny towns in southwestern Minnesota truly have much for which to be proud from these individuals. 

Each inductee/team had the opportunity to share about their season or life, and I shared about Reed’s.  You can watch the full ceremony from the school’s YouTube channel.  Reed’s story begins around the 55-minute mark.  Creating the plaque that now hangs in the newly created Hall of Fame was agonizing for me, because how do you condense such a big (even if brief) life to a few words.  Thanks to Sawyer for reframing that anguish by reminding me that we who love Reed are his greatest legacy, and that the plaque serves as a tiny touchpoint for sharing that legacy with others just like we do in every other thing that bears his name.  My overall message for the day was Reed – loved God, loved his friends and family, and he LOVED being a Laker.

Reed Stevens, Inaugural Class 2021, Lakeview Hall of Fame
One of our granddaughters viewing the entire Hall of Fame Class of 2021

All the experience was truly emotionally draining, and all of us had to revisit the grief of losing Reed much too soon.  Remembering the cool things he accomplished in just twelve years was a beautiful journey down memory lane. But we realized that while his picture and some of us achievements hang on the wall, his greatest legacy are the ones who love him and who keep his memory alive.  Whether in person or in spirit, they were all there remembering Reed – one of the newest members of the inaugural class of Lakeview School’s Hall of Fame! For both of those achievements, we could not be more proud!   

Video credit to Phil Lalim (on behalf of Lakeview Schools)

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