Roxbury trail dedicated in 11-year-old’s name
ROXBURY — Residents and officials honored the memory of 11-year-old Joey Awlasewicz, who died four years ago in an ATV accident, by opening a walking trail in his name Saturday.
The 0.3-mile trail will connect Minor Memorial Library, Roxbury Senior Center and Booth Free School, from which Awlasewicz graduated.
Named “Joey’s Trail,” officials said it will be used by seniors, for Booth classes walking to the library and for outdoor science classes. It will also provide a way for the community to remember Joey, who loved spending time outdoors, his mom, Luanne Awlasewicz, said.
“You have all made it possible to keep my son’s memory alive,” she said at an opening ceremony Saturday. “You were all there for us when Joey passed and you’re still here for us today. We are so blessed to live in such an amazing town.”
The Conservation Commission led the development of the trail, which had been a goal in the Plan of Conservation and Development from 1999. After Joey died in 2014, residents and officials decided a trail would be a good way to honor him and decided the upcoming trail could be dedicated to his memory.
The new pathway is the next step in a goal of connecting trails from the center of town to what is known as Roxbury’s “greenbelt,” a collection of preserves and open space, co-chairman Gary Steinman said.
The commission used about $2,000 of its budget to create Joey’s Trail and another $2,500 from donations made to the family called “Joey’s Fund.”
At the ceremony, officials passed out a long list of volunteers and contributors who helped make the trail a reality over the last four years, including Conservation Commission members, Boy Scout troops and residents who engraved signs for the trail.
“A project like this involves a lot of people and a lot of work,” Steinman said. “All of this was done by volunteers.”
Volunteers also helped Saturday, stopping by throughout the four hours before the opening ceremony to put the final touches on the trail.
First Selectman Barbara Henry told the group of residents who gathered to walk the trail for the first time that it seemed to be the perfect way to honor Joey, since it was next to his school, in his hometown and how he loved to spend his time.
“He was a beautiful, full of life, happy, hugging child who loved life,” she said. “This trail is a permanent, lasting legacy to Joey’s life and love of the outdoors.”