New bench marks student death

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Because of efforts of both Parkside Skate Shop , 1614 Business Loop 70 West and members of the community, plans regarding a memorial bench located in Columbia Cosmopolitan Recreation Area Skate Park are underway.

The memorial commemorates James Edward Hickem, a former Hickman High School student skateboarder who died Nov. 15, 2011.

Hickem passed away because of injuries suffered from a fall at Boone Quarries, 3101 North Creasy Springs Rd., lying approximately one mile from his beloved skate park.

The exact date for the installation of the bench has yet to be determined, because of lack of funding.

However, the intent of the memorial is still present.

“It’s $500 for the bench, and that’s something that Parkside doesn’t have,” Shane Stander, co-owner of Parkside Skate Shop and longtime member of skateboarding community said.

Family and friends gathered funds, but they haven’t raised enough to cover the cost of the bench. The family is still accepting any donations.

“We did the same thing, [created a bench at the skate park] for our friend Leo Finley, but his family came up and paid for most of it, ” Stander said.

Nearly six months after his death, Hickem‘s memory lives on through fellow skateboarders who continue to write his initials on their skateboards.

This has become a way that friends can keep his memory, without spending the money the bench would require.

“James’ parents were more involved with doing a scholarship with his school,” Stander said. “As far as the bench is concerned, we still haven’t got the money.”

Spots of wax still mark the concrete at the skate park from Hickem’s candlelight vigil, which took place Nov. 16 and was attended by friends and family.

Even with lack of funding and without the presence of the bench, skaters remember Hickem fondly.

“People are going to remember [Hickem], bench or not,” fellow skater and junior Gus Eggener said, “but it’s a good something to have to remember him by.”
By George Sarafianos