MADISON, NJ - A year after Brendan Tevlin was senselessly gunned down in West Orange during summer break from his freshman year at the University of Richmond after he had just texted his mom that he was on his way home from a friends house, an unimaginable tragedy, Brendan's family has chosen to memorialize him by renaming the main athletic field, where Brendan played lacrosse.
Seton Hall Prep, will be the site of the Brendan Patrick Tevlin Memorial Field '13 on the Prep's Kelly Athletic Complex.
This Saturday the Madison boys youth lacrosse program under the direction of Nick Spagnoletti, will host close to 60 teams from around New Jersey in an annual Platypus Festival on the ground of Madison High School and the Madison Recreation Complex between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
A Brendan Patrick Tevlin Memorial Fund has been formed to help redevelop, renew and maintain the field in Brendan's name. Tevlin and his family, Livingston, New Jersey residents, were close to many members of the Madison and surrounding communities through Seton Hall Prep and lacrosse.
Madison resident Gina McGuire and mother of three young sons jumped right in to assist in the fundraising efforts.
"We have been able to raise close to $4,000 right here in Madison with small fundraising initiatives. Initially, I only reached out to a few of my Maplewood hometown high school alums for help in raising money locally. Nick Spagnoletti who runs the Madison lacrosse program, Ali Simonton, coaches lacrosse in Chatham, and Kelly McGuire, my sister-in-law. But when they all responded to me with such all-in, whatever you need, what-else-can-I-do kind of support, it inspired me to cast a wider net," said McGuire.
"It reminded me of the type of community I come from. One of the things I truly loved about growing up in Maplewood/South Orange, was the unparalleled sense of community. And this sense of community continues to be strong long after most of us have moved away."
"Growing up in those towns, in those times, was not like any other place. It just wasn't. It instilled a hometown pride and bond I now try to teach my kids in Madison. I'm calling that sense of community into action to aid in a family's wish to memorialize their son."
McGuire had an idea to cast that wider net, and the Platypus Festival 2015 Tevlin Bracelet was born.
This Saturday at the Platypus Festival, along with the Madison JR lacrosse season long efforts to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Fund, McGuire and friends will also raise money for the Tevlin Memorial fund.
"Four hundred bracelets are available Saturday with a suggested donation of $3 each. Of course, you may donate more if you choose."
"The Madison JR program has been raising money through the season for the Wounded Warrior Fund," said Spagnoletti. "We will continue these efforts during the Platypus tournament Saturday along side another great effort for the Tevlin memorial. It is the perfect venue."
The Platypus Festival is a day to celebrate youth lacrosse. Hundreds will play and attend from New Jersey towns like Livingston, Maplewood and Madison, all having a strong sense of pride and community. The Tevlin tragedy touched not only the lacrosse community, a game in which he loved, but also a sense of fear that this could have been anyone's son.
Both funds will have tables set up at Saturday's festival and check donations may also be made to Seton Hall Prep - BPT Field.