BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – This will be a tough weekend in Struthers. Rowan Sweeney, who died in a shooting last month, would’ve turned 5 on Sunday.
The community is still struggling with his death and trying to cope. One couple came up with a permanent reminder of his life.
Mike Fercana and Jackie Deere wanted to do something for the Sweeney family after hearing the heartbreaking story of the little boy.
“Memorials are one of our biggest things, and that’s what we can do to help remember Rowan,” Fercana said.
Fercana and Deere did two personalized memorial benches. One each for Rowan’s parents. David Sweeney, Rowan’s father, has seen them but no one else until now.
“It is the most anxious job I’ve ever done with him,” Deere said. “He was flipping the bench out of the mold and I was standing there panicking, saying please let this come out. We want this to be perfect for them.”
The idea came when Deere combined a memorial idea with We Care Daycare, which is where she used to work. It was where Rowan started his learning.
One of the benches includes logos of Rowan’s favorite superheroes. And a saying requested by his father, “I love you to the moon and back.”
The concrete benches are sealed and will last a long time.
“That was our biggest thing. Everyone was really happy they were going to be part of something that was lasting and special and personalized for the family and for Rowan,” Deere said.
Cobblestone Corner also made memorial stepping stones. Those will be made available to the public during a benefit dinner next month.
“We love what we do, and we love our business and we would love to promote it, but we’re here for Rowan. That’s what we are here for,” Fercana said.
“We just want to help, and we just want everyone in the community to know how amazing they really are,” Deere said.
The benches will be delivered in time for the child’s memorial. Calling hours begin Monday with a private family service on Tuesday.
The child’s alleged killer was indicted yesterday and could face the death penalty if convicted.