Sea Isle City Dedicates Pink Remembrance Tree to Casey Feldman on May 1, 2010

Friday, May 14th, 2010

The Sea Isle City tree at dusk

The City of Sea Isle, along with the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance (SJTSA), dedicated a “Pink Remembrance Tree” to Casey Feldman as part of Sea Isle City’s Community Day, Saturday, May 1st at Noon in front of the police department on JFK Boulevard. Adorned with some 1400 pink lights, the tree is visible upon entering the island from the bridge and will be lit every night from dusk till 5:00 a.m. A plaque at the base of the tree is inscribed with Casey name and dates and serves as a memorial to all who have lost their lives in traffic accidents.

Mayor Len Desiderio said, “Mr. and. Mrs. Feldman have worked very hard to raise awareness to pedestrian safety and it is my privilege to honor the memory of their daughter in the hopes of keeping the residents and visitors of Sea Isle safe.” Speaking on behalf of the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance, Program Manager Teresa Thomas announced their summer safety campaign, stating that Casey’s story and photograph would play a prominent role in pedestrian and traffic safety in the region. “We are adding a human element which we hope reaches people enough that they start to drive more safely.”

The pink tree dedication in Sea Isle City also served as the kickoff for a nationwide effort to decorate trees with pink lights to stand as a memorial to those whose lives have been lost to traffic accidents and as a symbol of traffic safety.

Left to right: Dianne Anderson, Cape May Sheriff Gary Schaffer, Sea Isle Mayor and Cape May County Freeholder Len Desiderio, Joel Feldman, Cape May County Freeholder Ralph Sheets and Sea Isle Police Chief Tom Dintino

Also speaking at the ceremony were Sea Isle City Chief of Police Thomas D’Intino and Dianne Anderson, Casey’s mother.

Dianne Anderson took the opportunity to express her and Casey’s father Joel Feldman’s appreciation for the dedication of the tree in Sea Isle, stating that Sea Isle City was Casey’s home away home. Casey loved the shore and Sea Isle City in particular, where the family has owned a home for over 17 years. Casey was living in Sea Isle during the summer of 2009 and was struck in a crosswalk at an Ocean City intersection on July 17th. Casey wrote about the summer and Sea Isle City in high school essays and her mother took the opportunity to share Casey’s feelings in Casey’s own words by reading excerpts from one of those essays written when Casey was 16 years old:

Summer. Just saying the word, hits me with a barrage of senses. I can almost taste the word, like a half-melted cherry Popsicle on the 4th of July. Or hear it, the sound of the rushing ocean, the seagulls cawing, and crickets chirping, their call audible through the open window, their sound mixing with the whirring of the fan late one hot August night….

Ever since I can remember, we have had a shore house. I can’t remember a 4th of July that hasn’t taken place on the deck of our beach-front shore house in Sea Isle City, New Jersey….

As soon as my last final exam is finished on that thrilling day in mid- June, I’m already packing my bags for “the shore,” and, for the majority of the summer, I’ll call Sea Isle home….

Every day at the shore is special, and every second is a moment in time that I’ll commit to memory and forever cherish…. Summer has a sort of timeless quality, and even though the profound aspects of your life change, it almost seems like, in the summer, time stands still, and all the summer days of my memory merge into one….

Most people share this belief that summer is sort of the time to make memories. When middle-aged adults and parents reminisce about their youth, getting starry-eyed and talking about “the good ol’ days”, often you hear stories of wild nights at summer camp, crazy debacles at the beach, and summer romances…

I can picture myself, even though it makes me cringe to do so, in my forties. Although I have virtually no idea what direction my life will have taken, I know one thing: when life becomes more stressful than fun, and when I have more obligations than vacations, maybe I, too, will daydream about the “good ol’ days;” and those unforgettable summer nights at the beach.

 

Casey's parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles in front of the pink tree following the ceremony

[Note: View more photos from this tree dedication ceremony.  See ThinkSafetyCampaign.org and SJTSA.org for more information on the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance's summer safety campaign featuring Casey. Visit PinkRemembranceTree.org to post and view memorials of Casey and others who died in traffic accidents.]

SEA ISLE CITY TO DEDICATE A PINK REMEMBRANCE TREE FOR CASEY SATURDAY, MAY 1

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Press Release Issued by the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance:

The City of Sea Isle, along with the South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance, will dedicate a Pink Remembrance Tree for Casey Feldman as part of Sea Isle City’s Community Day, Saturday, May 1 at Noon in front of the police department on JFK Boulevard. 

Mayor Len Desiderio said “Mr. and. Mrs. Feldman have worked very hard to raise awareness to pedestrian safety and it is my privilege to honor the memory of their daughter in the hopes of keeping the residents and visitors of Sea Isle safe.”

Casey Feldman was struck and killed by a motorist while crossing a street in a crosswalk in Ocean City on July 17, 2009 while on her way to a waitressing job on the boardwalk.  Casey was a senior at Fordham University majoring in communication and media studies and was living in Sea Isle City for the summer where the Feldman family has had a home for the past 17 years.  For the holidays, the family decorated a 300 year old sycamore tree on their Springfield, Pennsylvania property with 18,000 pink lights as a tribute to Casey.  The tree has gotten much attention and provided the family with such comfort, that they have decided to also promote it as a traffic safety tree.

Dianne Anderson, Casey’s mother, said, “Pink was Casey’s favorite color and the lights represent her sparkling personality.  While I originally just envisioned it for the holidays, it has remained lit and I now can’t imagine coming home and not seeing it.”  Anderson went on to say, “Casey loved Sea Isle City; it was one of her favorite places. She even wrote about it in many high school essays. That is why it means so much to me that Sea Isle is going to dedicate a tree in her memory.”

While in memory of Casey Feldman, “The Pink Remembrance Tree” in Sea Isle City is also being dedicated to all of those who have lost their lives in motor vehicle collisions.  The Feldman’s are creating a website with the same name and hope to start a movement of Pink Remembrance Trees nationwide.  As part of the website, the public can upload photographs of their tree and their loved one, as well as include any information about their loved one that they may wish to share.

The Pink Remembrance Tree dedicated to Casey on the Feldman Property

Joel Feldman said “Our hope is that people will see the trees and slow down, or get off the phone or buckle up. There are just too many people dying on our roadways and it is not acceptable because they are preventable.”

Joel Feldman met with legislators and highway traffic officials over the past year in an attempt to promote changes in New Jersey’s pedestrian safety law.The new law, which went into effective April 1, 2010, now requires motorists to STOP and remain stopped for pedestrians, as opposed to simply yielding to them. The South Jersey Traffic Safety Alliance will use Casey as part of their summer safety campaign called THINK SAFETY.  Businesses, schools, municipalities and police departments are asked to participate by displaying the posters and banners throughout their community.  Forms are available at sjtsa.org.

To view photos or television news clips of the Feldmans pink tree, read Casey’s writings about Sea Isle City, or for more information about Casey or the foundation which has been established in her memory, visit caseyfeldman.com.

The pinkremembrancetree.com website will be up and running by May 1.

Note: Read the articles in The Press of Atlantic City and Cape May County Herald.