Publisher's note: This story was originally published last year. It highlights Shawn Venancio and the event held in his honor that funds the annual 'Pound 4 Pound' Award. This award was again given in 2018 in Holmdel Schools. The event in the article was a successful event held last year.
HOLMDEL, N.J. - The word Memorial is one which we hear often. We are reminded of yearly events, maybe a store sale, special moments in our nation's history, or more appropriately, the reflection and memory of the passage of time for a dearly loved member of our family or a close friend who we hold close with special reverence. Memorials are often for those who have been blessed by long lives, well lived. However sometimes the memorials are for those who are taken long before their time. Holmdel has lost so many children over the years to car accidents and other misfortunes that it is hard to calculate. So, we look for peace, for a sense of calm at times, so we can remember the fun and the love and the smiles.
We also have opportunities to show love, support, giving and sharing of our time for others. Organizations, fortunately, have been established for the loss of loved ones and a Celebration of Shawn's Cherished and Respected Life will be held:
SHAWN VENANCIO MEMORIAL POUND 4 POUND GOLF TOURNAMENT
OCTOBER 23, 2017
BATTLEGROUND COUNTRY CLUB
ONE COVENHOVEN ROAD
MANALAPAN, N.J. 07726
All proceeds from the golf tournament will go to a student athlete at Holmdel High School who most emulates Shawn's tenacity on and off the field. If you cannot attend the event but would like to send in a contribution to the scholarship fund in Shawn's memory, checks can be made out to The Shawn Venancio Memorial Golf Outing, and mailed in care of 41 Village Lane, Colts Neck, NJ 07722
We can support these memorials now and be there for them and share memories and talk about Shawn. We can contribute to a great cause for a person who has had a deep impact on our lives. For someone we miss and wonder what could have been. Or maybe we never got to meet Shawn but we want to support a young man who lived in our community, and left us too soon. If we can't make the event we can share a personal message or memory with the family, or send in a contribution in Shawn's memory. The singular focus is on a strong, handsome young man who lived life to the fullest. Shawn Venancio lived in our town of Holmdel, he walked where we walk and his voice was spoken here, his laughter heard loud and clear. He was tough, very tough, an athlete who hit it hard on the Holmdel sports fields and gave it his all -- all the time. More than anything, Shawn Venancio was loved--he is loved and always will be missed by so many who were fortunate to call him brother, neighbor, friend, son, student... Holmdel resident, and friend and teammate of Shawn's, Scott Cannon says, "I had the pleasure of growing up with and playing football with Shawn from the time we were young boys through our teen years. We went to school together and we were at Holmdel High School together and everyone knew how tough Shawn was. The other teams that would play Holmdel knew how tough Shawn was, one of my fondest memories are when I hear the pound for pound expression. Shawn gave it everything he had. He was tough and passionate. Shawn was a tremendous kid, a great friend and teammate. Holmdel was a tight knit town and the Venancio family was a staple in our town. When we lost Shawn the community took it very hard, he was a great friend and I miss him tremendously. I wish that night never happened when we lost Shawn." (Scott Cannon was HHS class of 1988 and Shawn Venancio was HHS class of 1987).
Now, in the words of Shawn's mother, Lucille Venancio:
I'd like to tell you something about my youngest son "Shawn." He has four older brothers (Charles, Matthew, Kevin and Mario). Shawn was born on August 12, 1969 (his brother Kevin was born on the same date 5 years earlier). We lived in Old Bridge and in 1979 moved to Holmdel. Living in Holmdel all my five boys were always into sports and met many friends who are still a big part of their lives today. Shawn played baseball since Little League and also played football (Pop Warner) and then continued onto Holmdel High School (HHS) sports. At the age of 10 he learned to play pool, ping pong, and tried golf and bowling, he always played with enthusiasm and to the best of his ability.
Greg Semenza was Shawn's coach at HHS #20. While Shawn was playing for Greg he nick-named Shawn "Pound for Pound." Shawn loved every game and Greg thought he was one of the strongest players on the team so that's why he called Shawn "Pound for Pound." He gave it his all "Pound for Pound." Also in 1986 the HHS football team won the Class D football championship. During that time we met many parents and after each game we'd celebrate with the boys at different houses. It was a great time in our lives!
Shawn also played baseball at HHS with coach Ed Reckage. Baseball was special for Shawn, he played 2nd base and hoped to continue at Barry University in Florida. Sadly, life took a tragic turn and all of us lost such a beautiful person, in an automobile accident that took my youngest son Shawn's life on Dec. 9, 1986. He was a senior at Holmdel High School at the time. He had his whole life ahead of him. Shawn was taken from us but is remembered every day. He gave us love and strength to carry on his memory . If you're sad or need help just look to heaven and talk to him, he'll always listen and try to help in some way. You'll never feel alone or lost and maybe you'll have a good laugh with a dear friend. Everyone has always shown such love for Shawn and our family. We are grateful to all. A special thanks to everyone for continuing the "Pound for Pound" HHS football scholarship award, and the Memorial baseball scoreboard at HHS, to keep his memory alive. It means so much to us and we miss him every day. Remembering Shawn means so much to all of us. Gratitude and love go out to all. We are humble and happy with all the love and support. Love ya xxxxx