More than a hundred people came out to show their support as Stowers Elementary dedicated a memorial bench in memory of Jacob Andy Heath, a Stowers second grader who passed away on December 27, 2018.
Those who attended were welcomed by Stowers Principal Catherine Lennard, who introduced the dedication speaker, art teacher Abby Rothrock. Cub Scout Pack 603 (Jacob’s pack) opened the dedication with a flag ceremony.
Teachers shared anecdotes as they recounted stories about the precocious and sweet boy, who had a smile for everyone and made friends easily.
“Jacob was indescribable,” said Rothrock. “He was selfless and always trying to find ways to help others.”
Teacher Shannon Shive said he was a little guy but left a really big impact on the class.
“He had such a big heart and amazing potential,” she said.
The bench was created by Brian Morris of Rustic Steel Creations. Jacob was 100 percent boy and loved John Deere tractors and monster trucks, so Morris welded steel and iron pieces to create a bench reminiscent of tractor tires in Deere’s signature yellow and green colors. Placed next to the bench, which sits outside the school’s library, is a plaque designed by Marvin Scott at Misfit Customs.
“When people come here and they see his name on the plaque by the bench, they’re going to know Jacob went to Stowers and that he was part of the community,” said Rothrock.
After the bench was dedicated, his family and friends released yellow and green helium balloons as a poem by Winnie the Pooh author A. A. Milne (Jacob’s favorite) was read.
In closing, Jacob’s father, Nathan Heath, expressed his gratitude for everyone that helped make the memorial a reality.
“My family would like to thank everyone who helped make this bench and plaque possible,” he said. “I know Jacob is smiling down at us right now, and if he were here he would describe this moment in one word…epic.”
One thing is certain: the bench will stand as a reminder that Jacob’s love, kindness and joy will endure forever. In the words of Winnie the Pooh: “But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you.”