A dedication ceremony for the new Sayulita Lifeguard Tower was held on Monday Feb. 26th, the 5th anniversary of Mark Stoneberg's drowning. Mark’s wife, Nancy, and 19 family members and friends from Minnesota were in attendance. Approximately 50 people from our pueblo were in attendance, as well as Brian Singleton of Firefighters Crossing Borders and Citlali Darany López Souza, the new Director of Proteccion Civil. Jack Jones, president of Pro Sayulita, opened the ceremony welcoming all attendees. Janice Parker, Pro Sayulita’s Beach Safety Program Coordinator, introduced Brian and Darany, who then spoke to us regarding the commitment of the government to our Beach Safety Program. As partners in this program with Proteccion Civil, Bahia Banderas, and Firefighters Crossing Borders, Pro Sayulita has agreed to fund and build three more towers. A special thanks was given to Cyd Viator of Phoenix AZ. He designed and built the tower himself, using 100% recycled plastic.
The tower was dedicated in memory of all who have lost their lives on the Northside beach, and specifically, Zack Chambers, Mark Stoneberg, and Diego Ramos, three drownings that have occurred since 2010. We also celebrated the two New Beginnings of Sandra Jeffrey Page and Steven Schumacher, who were both rescued on the beach on the same date in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
A group of local musicians provided lovely background music during the ceremony and paddle out. OOdette Gordon lit copal incense to cleanse the tower of any negative energy, a Huichol tradition. Janice Parker read a poem in remembrance of the drowning victims. Nancy and Janice unveiled the plaque (a Spanish version will be added shortly) Afterwards, Tom Rupert lead a paddle out in Mark Stoneberg's memory.
The tide recedes and leaves behind
Bright seashells in the sand
The sun goes down but yet it's warmth
Still lingers on the land
The music stops but yet it's sound
Echoes on in sweet refrains
For everything that passes
Something beautiful remains
Thank you to all who attended the ceremony. The family appreciated your support. You also made them aware of just how special our community is. Thank you to all who were involved in the building project and in the ceremony itself. There are too many to name here, but you all know who you are! You have helped to make Sayulita’s beach a safer place.
Photography by Ed Dorsett