Internal discussions around the dedication of a Joe Pecora memorial bench in Alamo Square began i on a crisp morning at a Volunteer Gardening event in 2021 as neighbors began emerging from lockdowns eager to socialize while doing volunteer work in the park.
Fast forward to the fall of 2022, ASNA had assembled a 4 member committee dedicated to making sure Joe was officially honored within the community. The committee started outreach efforts with the Parks Alliance and the Victorian Alliance. The committee also explored kicking off the fundraising effort with the release of the final video interview with Joe Pecora shot at his home in 2020.
Unfortunately, the memorial bench committee lost 2 of its members by the end of 2022 and the momentum behind the effort briefly stalled.
As 2022 ended, outgoing President Jason Jervis kicked off the campaign before officially stepping down as board President.
"I only knew Joe for 3 years but in that time Joe extended warmth, kindness, and generousity in such an authentic and gracious way. Joe introduced me to several neighborhood giants, and even started attending our meetings again despite the difficulty making his way to the Archbishop's mansion. I made a commitment in 2021 that this memorial was going to happen, and it will."
-Jason Jervis, ASNA Board Member
The fundraising campaign launched in late January 2023, a time of year that typically sees a lull in ASNA activity. From the moment the campaign launched, the response was strong and heartfelt. People have also been sending heartwarming messages about Joe which are an enduring testiment to the lives he impacted through his presence.
In less than one month ASNA raised 50% of the $7000 fundraising goal, and by the end of February we reached three quarters of our fundraising goal! More encourgaging news arrived this month when ASNA was awarded a Victorian Alliance grant that will close out the balance of our fundraising goal!
ASNA will begin the application process with Parks Alliance as soon as all funds have been recieved.
This community effort is a reminder to us that each day we have the opportunity to choose actions that help strengthen our community. By honoring Joe in the park we will further cement his legacy as a cherished neighborhood icon and establish a small symbol of our gratitude for his lifetime of service.
Thank you to everyone who sent in donations and heartfelt messages of your love and gratitude to Joe.