Jeremy McGo­ran memo­rial bench at Rotary Park

Penticton Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By JOE FRIES

Those in need of a few calm mo­ments dur­ing life’s storms are in­vited to take a time­out on a new memo­rial bench in Rotary Park.

The bench was in­stalled this week in hon­our of Pen­tic­ton ra­dio host Jeremy McGo­ran, who in June lost a long and pub­lic bat­tle against men­tal ill­ness.

His widow, Mare, said the spot in Rotary Park was se­lected be­cause the fam­ily used to pic­nic on the grass nearby in what is a cen­tral lo­ca­tion in down­town Pen­tic­ton with a view of Okana­gan Lake.

“I wanted it to be some­where ac­ces­si­ble, some­where calm, some­where beau­ti­ful,” she ex­plained.

“So my hope is that peo­ple will come here when they need a lit­tle bit of a break, if they’re go­ing to write in their jour­nal, if they need to talk to some­one, that they’ll choose this as a meet­ing place.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, she hopes the bench will serve as a legacy for Jeremy, and that peo­ple “will hon­our that legacy by tak­ing care of them­selves.”

The bench was pur­chased by Mare’s brother, Sean McHale, and his wife, Karin Risi, both of whom live in a Philadel­phia.

“The rea­son we were de­lighted that the City of Pen­tic­ton of­fers the bench ded­i­ca­tion pro­gram is that we wanted a place we could al­ways visit with our fam­ily to re­mem­ber Jeremy and all he means to us,” the cou­ple said in a state­ment pro­vided to The Herald.

“We also hope that it will also be a place for ev­ery­one who knew Jeremy to be able to go to re­mem­ber him and all that he en­joyed and strug­gled with. It may also be a place for peo­ple who never knew Jeremy to en­joy his mem­ory.

“It was an hon­our to have Jeremy as part of our fam­ily and an hon­our to be able to ded­i­cate a bench in his hon­our.”

Mare praised city staff for pre­sent­ing a va­ri­ety of lo­ca­tions for con­sid­er­a­tion and en­sur­ing the bench was in­stalled ahead of a planned fam­ily get-to­gether this week­end.

She said life still feels “un­real” with­out Jeremy, but that she and their son, Thomas, who’s now in Grade 1, are slowly ad­just­ing to the new nor­mal.

“It’s been a tough three months,” said Mare, a for­mer morn­ing show host on Sun FM who this fall will re­turn to a reg­u­lar shift on lo­cal air­waves as midday host for New Coun­try 100.7 FM.

“We got through the sum­mer with a lot of help from the com­mu­nity, and this (bench) is sort of our way of giv­ing back.”

Jeremy was work­ing as an on-air host for EZ Rock when he re­vealed pub­licly in 2016 that he strug­gled with anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion, and had been sui­ci­dal in the past.

The Langley na­tive re­cov­ered with the help of med­i­ca­tion and coun­selling, and was serv­ing as a vol­un­teer board mem­ber for the lo­cal branch of the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion at the time of his death at the age of 35.

JOE FRIES/Pen­tic­ton Herald

A memo­rial bench in hon­our of for­mer Pen­tic­ton ra­dio host Jeremy McGo­ran was in­stalled this week in Rotary Park.

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