Cheryl Beckett, an SCA alumna and one of 10 humanitarian aid workers killed by gunmen in Afghanistan this month, was remembered today at a memorial service at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, VT. Ms. Beckett had served there as an SCA intern in 2000.
Friends, former colleagues and others paid tribute to Ms. Beckett, who soon after her internship turned down a scholarship to Johns Hopkins University to serve abroad, spending the past six years in Afghanistan.
Marsh-Billings Superintendent Rolf Diamant noted that Ms. Beckett wrote to park officials in recent years to say she had been "truly enriched" by her experience.
"I was talking with some of my Afghan staff just the other day about the barrenness in the areas we are working," she stated. "Although we were dreaming of reforestation, overall they were expressing a real sense of hopelessness. I found myself telling them about this crazy little national park in America that, although very far away and different in some ways, shared the same overriding story as their country. Land that had been used and abused, being cared for and stewarded, now reforested and productive. We long to see that here as well."
SCA President Dale Penny lauded Ms. Beckett for working to make the world a better place. "When we serve beyond ourselves, we become more complete," Penny said. "When we heal others wounds, we heal our own. And when we care for the earth, we nurture and sustain ourselves and our children...Cheryl met that call. Hers will be a lasting legacy."
Ms. Beckett, an Ohio resident, was part of a group providing medical, dental and eye care to poor rural villagers when her party was gunned down in an ambush. She was 32.