When Lindsey Dunning and Alex Powell put out the call to raise money for a memorial bench for their friend, Squalicum High School senior Hannah Dashiell, the community responded instantly.
On the first day, they exceeded their goal of $1,100, and quickly pulled in $3,200 before ending the fundraiser and moving into the design phase.
Talbot was happy to help make the memorial bench a reality and have it placed in Barkley Village’s Gazebo Park, next to the Barkley Haggen grocery store where Hannah worked.
Talbot reached out to Joe Clark at Architectural Elements, whose team had designed and fabricated the benches around the Regal Barkley Village movie theater, and industrial designer Kyle Thomas got right to work.
After several months of creating and refining the design, and then constructing the bench, it was installed at Barkley Village on the afternoon of Monday, June 16.
Clark, Thomas, and Architectural Elements industrial designer and foreman Jon Falcon heave the 300-pound bench out of the truck and carefully move it to its spot near the gazebo, tucked back a bit from the road.
The 90-minute installation process includes digging holes, placing and carefully leveling the bench, filling the holes with concrete, and then bracing the structure with support beams to keep it all in place while the concrete sets.
The final design will also include metal trim on the ground behind the bench and gravel placed underneath.
The bench slats were constructed of PVC board, not wood, and then the steel was powder-coated – to make the curved design easier to accomplish and the finished product completely durable. “It’s going to last forever,” Kyle says. “The weather, the snow, the rain, the dry – none of that’s going to affect it.”
The Architectural Elements crew heads off to grab coffee and a few minutes later, Dunning and Powell stop by to look at the bench; Hannah’s father Dennis Dashiell also arrives, followed shortly by Hannah’s mother, Jeannette.
When Clark, Thomas and Falcon return from Starbucks, they meet Hannah’s family for the first time.
“We were just coincidentally walking up,” Dennis Dashiell says later. “We didn’t even know when they were installing it, exactly. That they happened to be there right when we first stopped by is really nice.”
The Dashiell family has been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown by the community in making Hannah’s bench a reality.
“It’s beautiful,” Dennis Dashiell says of the bench’s design and placement. “They did a very nice job.”
Dashiell likes having the memorial bench at Barkley Village. “It’s going to provide a nice place for her fellow students and friends and people to go that’s not about her death,” he says, “but about her life.”
“We think about her all day, every day,” Dashiell continues. “And we know as the time of her death gets further and further away, there may be opportunities for other folks to not think about her as much. It’s really nice to have something like this in place that will help to mark her life and hope to remind people of what she stood for.”
A dedication ceremony is set for 3:30pm on Saturday, June 28 at Barkley Village’s Gazebo Park, when Dashiell’s father, mother and sister Maddy will help complete the memorial by attaching its plaque. The public is invited to attend to help honor Hannah’s memory.
Another fundraiser in Hannah’s memory continues, both online and through donations to any Bellingham-area Peoples Bank location. Hannah had planned to become a doctor, and 100 percent of the funds raised by the Hannah Dashiell Memorial Scholarship will support area high school girls going into medicine. Learn more about this endowment fund at the Whatcom Community Foundation website.