These posts are always the most difficult to write. We lost a member of our of Space EdVentures family last week. Ari Cole was a Magellan supervisor at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center and a former member of the Voyager Club during the time we did our Long Duration Missions at the CMSEC.
Ari was the quiet one in the room. Watching, listening, and jumping in when she felt there was something to say. She had a great love of the Space Center and its mission. She started as a camper and flew on a mission or two with me on the Voyager. From there she made the transition into the Voyager Club and then volunteering, wanting to help others find the inspiration she had found. Many of her co-workers at the Center attended her funeral. Connor Larsen, her immediate supervisor and Magellan Set Director, played the organ at the service.
Ari getting her Blues at the CMSC Honor's Night
There was a sadness about Ari that spoke of difficulties and trials. Today those are past as she finds love and peace in the arms of her Savior. May we all strive to love and cherish all our brothers and sisters whom God has placed in our paths, for I believe we are His eyes, His hands, His ears, and His voice in the world. Let His love radiate from you to all those He has led to you. And when that day comes when there are no more tears, then we shall all understand that love, charity, kindness, and our time were the greatest gifts we could have given to each other just as Ari gave them so freely to those in her life.
Ari's life reminds me that our Centers, for some, are the safe havens from the storms they battle on a day to day basis. I didn't understand that when I founded the Space Center 28 years ago, but have come to realize it over the years. We are a community of like minded individuals who have found a common passion. May we continue to see that in each other and embrace each other like family in tribute to Ari and her example.
And with that - I say "Aloha" to one of God's precious angels. May she find peace and joy sailing the solar winds through the universe which so captivated her imagination.
The Testimony Ari Left Behind
Taken from her "Why I Am A Mormon" page.
I love to write and draw, as well as learn about odd facts. Both of my older siblings are out on missions. I hope to one day be a published author, and have people enjoy my work. I'm a fan of capybaras, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, and space centers. I love to make people smile and laugh, and folding origami.
I was born into the church. I am the youngest of three kids. My mother's father was not a member of the church when he married my grandmother (he was Catholic), but he eventually agreed to meet with the missionaries and the rest is history. My father's mother was Methodist, and his father was an inactive member of the LDS church. The missionaries reached out to them and they felt it was right for them. My father tried to be a good example to the kids in his upstate New York neighborhood. I continue to follow the Gospel because I know the standards set truly make us happy and don't burden our minds with things that might make us temporally happy, but not in the long-run. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the current prophet, Thomas S. Monson, leads the church today. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.