Posted on 01 October 2015 by La Habra Journal
The construction and upcoming dedication of the new plaza recognizes the teen and his family’s dedication.
By Christina Ledesma
La Habra Journal
Jason Kurtz was only 15, when he was killed in a hiking accident at his friend’s birthday outing on November 11, 1989. During the hike one of the members of the group kicked loose a rock above Kurtz’s head. He yelled down to warn the group about the rock, but Kurtz did not hear him and was struck by the rock. His death shocked everyone in his community not only because of his young age, but because of the type of person Kurtz was. Kurtz was already an active member in his community. He had developed a strong commitment to helping those in need and individuals with disabilities. Kurtz attended Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, where he was recognized for pro-life benefits, his participation in Knights of Columbus and trips to orphanages to distribute food. According to his father Bob Kurtz, one of his son’s best attributes was his desire to help others. “Jason was very active in helping the needy, helping the pro-life movement, everything from a walk-a-thon….to going down to Mexico with me and helping a mission orphanage of children, that we would bring food down to around Christmas time,” Bob Kurtz explained. In 1991, a patio was built in honor of Jason’s memory at OLG. It was called Jason’s Patio, and was dedicated to him by his family. Before the patio was built, the area was a parking lot where Kurtz and his ministry would gather together. The Kurtz family wanted to build the patio there in memory of their son because he spent most of his time there. Valerie Kurtz, Jason’s mother, mentioned that she has noticed that people have used the patio to sit and meditate. “I’ve seen people sitting out there at different times of the day and night,” she said. “So it turned out to be a good place for people. I was happy about that because it’s getting used like it should be, getting closer to God.” A few years ago, the church decided to expand Jason’s Patio into Jason’s Plaza. And when the Kurtz’ family found out, they wanted to finish the project that they had started. “It’s something Jason would have been very proud of. And we wanted to do it for the community, the parish, in his memory,” Bob Kurtz said. “We have something in his legacy that we can be proud of.” Scott Miller, OLG’s business manager said that the Kurtz family offered to fund the whole project in memory of their son. “It’s been very personal for me, since I’m the business manager,” Miller explained. “The generosity of people going out of their way and doing something like that for our whole community to benefit from and enjoy… it’s just amazing.” Jason Kurtz’ memory continues to shape and impact the community tremendously. The dedication of Jason’s Plaza will take place on October 11 at 10:30 a.m. after the 9:30 a.m. Mass. The plaza is an important project for the parish and the community, and very personal for those who knew Jason and the Kurtz family well. Rev. Ed Becker of OLG said that the day of dedication of the plaza will give the community the opportunity to thank the Kurtz family for all that they do.
“This project is a great example of everybody contributing in some way,” Becker said. “For Bob and Valerie Kurtz, and their daughter Lindsey to decide to remember Jason by donating the money necessary to make this new plaza happen is such a gift to the community.”