On June 3, dozens of families, friends, local dignitaries and representatives from Gift of Hope crowded the Louis Sherman Community
Center in Steger, Ill., for the formal dedication of the Lorenzo Garcia Park of Hope.
“Heroes in Our Midst” was the theme of the day as superhero balloons, signs and collectibles decorated the entrance to the park and the center’s gymnasium, where a formal presentation took place. Two little boys dressed as superheroes paraded through the gym to applause.
The park itself was dedicated to the memory of 12-year-old Lorenzo Garcia who, like many boys his age, idolized superheroes. Ironman was his favorite. And like Ironman’s creator, Tony Stark, the kindhearted sixth-grader from Steger hoped to use his very own super powers to one day help others.
Tragically, Lorenzo’s life was cut short following an accident in July 2015, but his dreams of becoming a superhero came true when his family made the courageous decision to donate his organs.
AN IDEA TAKES ROOT
The dedication ceremony began with the national anthem, sung by 10-year-old Jeirmyri Liddell, who came up with the idea of a lasting memorial to honor his fallen friend shortly after his accident in 2015. “Can we do something so that we never, ever forget Lorenzo?” Liddell asked his mother, Mary Supramaniam-Liddell, a week after Lorenzo’s passing. “That’s when the vision of this memorial was born,” she explained.