Missed but remembered

Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2003

On the last day of July in 2002, my niece lost her life in an accident on a road in Juneau. We miss her.

This month a sign was placed by the DOT sponsored by one of Erica's employers that reads, "Please Drive Safely, in memory of Erica Swiatkowski." I would like to thank Mike Spalding, president of Hummingbird Services and Erica's co-workers and friends for thinking of putting up this reminder, not only to drive safely but also as a reminder of Erica's life.

A highway safety sign may seem like a small thing, but it's not. It gives importance to Erica's short life. It says "Erica was here" and that's important to her family, in these times that keep going on around us without regard to Erica ever having been here. Erica was our family treasure, and it means a lot to me to know that Juneau remembers. Erica doesn't have any family in Juneau, so it's the friends that she made during the short time she lived in Juneau with you who will benefit from the marker memorializing her. Even if the rest of her family never sees the sign, we know it's there, and we are grateful for you nurturing her memory.

I am also grateful to Alaska DOT for placing the sign. The sign will not credit Hummingbird Services as the people responsible for sponsoring the sign, but I wanted you to know. Incidentally, Erica's accident occurred in the middle of the section of Egan Drive adopted by Hummingbird Services several years ago. How poignant for them!

We, Erica's family, grieve with Erica's friends and co-workers in Juneau. We thank you for remembering her and we send a very big thank you to Hummingbird Services for your thoughtfulness in placing this memorial in her honor.

Sue Vana

Murphysboro, Ill.

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