Loss comes in many forms and affects people differently. Every graduating class experiences the loss of classmates, many classes while still in school, and every class after graduation has people …
Loss comes in many forms and affects people differently. Every graduating class experiences the loss of classmates, many classes while still in school, and every class after graduation has people that are gone too soon. The Class of 1988 is no different, but how they chose to approach it is.
The idea was to fund a memorial bench in a city park in lieu of holding a 35th class reunion this year. The reunion planning committee reached out to the class with the idea and there was a lot of support for the idea. When the decision was made to move forward with the bench, the planning committee reached out to the Hastings Parks Department to get things started.
“The process was very easy,” explained Kris Milliren. “I went on the city’s website after a google search, printed and filled out the order form and that’s it.”
Milliren was surprised at how simple the process was and how affordable the benches are at $800, which includes the installation of the bench as well as the commemorative engraving that gets added to the bench. She was also thankful for how the city staff were around the whole process.
“Cory Likes at the city has been awesome to work with, he explained everything and was very supportive,” added Milliren.
Likes is the Parks Maintenance Supervisor, and his staff is responsible for the ordering and installation of the benches around town. Starting the process is easy, it is a simple form, but there could be a wait for the installation of the bench depending on manufacturing time and if they have any benches on hand at the time of the order.
The biggest issue the Parks Department faces with the benches is placement requests. The majority of people want their bench to have a view of the Mississippi River and currently, all those spots have been filled.
The Class of 1988 bench was installed last week and both Milliren and Lori Hanson-Braun were on hand to share the moment with their classmates via video. During the video, Milliren read the following.
On behalf of the Class of 1988 reunion planning committee, for our 35th reunion, we have opted for a Memorial bench in remembrance of our classmates that have left us way too soon. We’d like to take a moment to reflect and honor those that we are aware of and may they rest in peace.
John Gahler – 1992, Rob Nesbitt – 1993, Mitch Matthews – 1994, Kim Stein – 1995, Kirk Denn – 1998, Lisa Bellin – 1998, Kris Ruby – 2005, Dave Reinardy – 2010, Todd Mears – 2011, Wendy Veith – 2011, Jim Wallner – 2012, Glen Carlson – 2014, Kris Siebenaler Miller– 2015, Pat Langenfeld – 2016, Bennett Donovan – 2017, Aric Hood – 2021, Aimee Majeski Leifeld – 2021 and Jeff Schneider – 2022.
If there are any classmates we have missed, please reach out to Lori Hanson Braun, Amy Moser, Patrick Dempsey or myself, Kris Milliren. There is a Memorial album on our class of ’88 Facebook page, “Hastings High School, MN Class of 1988”. We also use this page to stay connected and for other updates.
The bench itself is located on Lock & Dam Road, near the top of the hill on your right. You can park in the Confluence parking lot, proceed down the hill, look for the blue arch and the bench is under the arch with a beautiful view of the river & bridge.
I’d like to extend a special thank you to Cory Likes at the City of Hastings Parks Department for his help with the memorial bench and for his assistance in finding a great location for the Class of 1988 Memorial Bench.
If you are interested in sponsoring a memorial bench, a quick google search will lead you right to the page. Search “City of Hastings memorial bench program” and it will be the first link you find.