by April May,
Executive Assistant to CEO/Donor Relations/Victim Advocate Counselor
It is easy to forget the 90 degree heat as you stroll through Baker Park a hidden treasure in the City of Naples. Baker Park is perfectly situated along the Gordon River in downtown Naples, where landlubbers and aquatic adventurists can escape for the day. Baker Park boasts, the perfect spot to witness a breathtaking sunrise as the canary yellow and hues of the saffron dawn sun peaks just beyond the Gordon River; or for those who enjoy a stroll may find the 1.3 mile loop through the grassy knolls or over the Gordon River Greenway Bridge exactly what your soul needed. Throughout Baker Parker you will come across impressive art, lush landscaping, a splash pad, multiple playgrounds, a kayak launch, native vegetation, mangroves and two pink tabebuia trees looking towards the Knoll Overlook.
As someone sits and reads the picturesque description of Baker Park one may wonder why would the writer point out specifically—two pink tabebuia trees. Unbeknownst to the reader this is not an article about Baker Park but what is planted and why two pink tabebuia trees were planted just north of the Formal Lawn and the Eva Sugden-Gomez Center. Tabebuia trees provide a striking pink flower that drops it foliage immediately before bursting into blooms
leaving gorgeous pink blossoms that provide an abundance of shade and beauty. A blanket of beauty for some, a quilt of comfort for some, a gentle yet powerful reminder of the unthinkable for someone who could be you or for someone’s daughter, someone’s son, someone’s wife, someone’s parent.
The call no one wants to get or make. . .It’s any time—any day and the 24/7 Crisis and Sexual Assault strong>HELPline has just received a call from the Naples Police Department dispatcher seeking accompaniment for a Sudden Death Notification—The Unthinkable.
There is no perfect timing or preparing for the unthinkable. No matter what the unthinkable is—sexual assault, burglary, domestic violence, financial crime/identity theft, human trafficking, gang violence, kidnapping, robbery, stalking, homicide, theft grand/petty, sudden death, and vehicular victimization. And YES—the unthinkable happens even in Paradise!
Shaina Anderson, Chief Operating Officer for Project HELP stated that the hardest part of accompanying the Naples Police Department on a sudden death notification is, “The anticipation of what to expect upon arriving to a scene or a loved one’s home and being prepared to hold a safe place for the insurmountable grief while also knowing there will never be anything you can say or do that can take the pain away from the grieving loved one in that moment.” For the “someone” who receives the notification he/she/they/them may not recall the details of what was said or shared but what will be etched in their memory and never forgotten were those words and were they conveyed with care and compassion.
Project HELP and its 14 Believers can’t take away the unthinkable, but Project HELP and its 14 Believers can help “someone” heal from the unthinkable. Project HELP, The City of Naples and the Office for Victims of Crime recognize, support and honor victims of crime (the unthinkable) and those who support them. Each year the Office for Victims of Crime commemorate National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year NCVRW was commemorated April 23-29, 2023 where this year’s theme was Survivor Voices: Elevate. Engage, Effect Change.
Project HELP -Our Community- the City of Naples-Baker Park amplify the voices of the survivors of the unthinkable and create environments where survivors have the confidence that they will be heard, believed, and supported. As you stroll past the pink tabebuia trees just before the grassy knoll overlook pause. . .you or someone’s daughter, someone’s son, someone’s wife, someone’s parent is healing from the unthinkable—with a little bit of help from Project HELP and a community of Believers.