Tuesday, August 14, 2007

even the young leave a legacy

I recently returned from a week in my hometown. It was a fantastic time, hanging out with family and friends, then hosting some friends from Colorado Springs. We visited the Maroon Bells while they were here, which I will post some pictures of soon.

Another thing happened this weekend, though, that has left a mark on me. A high school friend of mine, Peter Jessup, died while summiting the same Maroon Bells we hiked to the base of on Saturday. Those of you who know me, know that I am constantly asking the questions, "What do you want your legacy to be?" I think it is one of the most important things we can think about.

As I read his obituary today, I felt like I got a glimpse into someone who lived out a solid legacy in his short life. I just thought I'd put it out there for any who have begun to ponder the question.

"Peter Brian Jessup, 27, highly respected humanitarian, died Aug. 9, 2007, while descending South Maroon Peak at the Maroon Bells, 12 miles from Aspen. Peter was born Aug. 9, 1980, to Ted and Judy Jessup. He attended Glenwood Springs schools and graduated in 1999.

As a high school student, Peter had a dream of becoming a marine biologist. This past year, he was determined he could still chase that dream. He traveled to Colombia, South America, where he sought PADI scuba diver certification, and obtained his open, advanced and rescue certifications.

He attended Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and graduated with a major in theology in 2003. During his summer vacations, Peter worked as a nurse's assistant at Glen Valley Care Center, providing care for senior citizens. He also participated in a semester abroad program, in which he traveled to the Dominican Republic. There he became fluent in the Spanish language and assisted in medical care in rural areas.

Peter was a cancer survivor. In the summer of 1997 he was diagnosed with leukemia. Upon his remission, Peter determined that his mission was to help others. Peter spent several years employed by Catholic Charities, Western Slope, where he coordinated assistance and advocacy to Latinos of the Roaring Fork Valley. He also mediated and interpreted cases within the local court system. Peter was awarded the staff award in the 2005 Garfield County Humanitarian Services Awards in February 2006, given by the Garfield County Human Services Commission and the Post Independent newspaper. He was nominated by Tom Ziemann of Catholic Charities.Peter became the community organizer at Congregations and Schools Empowered/Metro Organizations for People, again assisting communities from Aspen to Parachute.

This summer, Peter returned home to begin his next adventure, becoming a river raft guide for Whitewater Rafting in Glenwood Springs. He planned to return to Colombia later this fall and obtain his master scuba certification. His ambition was to dive the Great Barrier Reef off Australia. We will never know where Peter's adventure and love of life would have taken him and his sparkling eyes, and his infectious smile and laugh.Peter loved the outdoors and all it had to offer, good music, dancing and reading.

Peter is survived by his wife, Alejandra Rico Jessup of Glenwood Springs; his grandmother, Ruth Jessup; mother and her husband, Doug Britten, of Glenwood Springs; father and his wife Mary of New Castle; sister Jennifer (Jonathan) Wachtel of Denver; stepsister Sarah (Zeph) Williams of New Castle; half-brother Kip Jessup; half-sister Morgan Jessup of New Castle.Visitation is from 5-8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13, at Farnum-Holt Funeral Home in Glenwood Springs.Msg. Tom Dentici will officiate the funeral service and resurrection Mass at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14, at St. Mary of the Crown Catholic Church in Carbondale."


Anonymous said...

I've read your post several times since Peter's premature death. I just can't seem to come to terms with it. Thanks for being another someone who loved him.

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