Monday, October 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Bench preserves memory of brother

By
From page A3 | June 19, 2014 |

19 bench dedication 1

Suisun City Public Works Supervisor Jeff Penrod attaches a plaque in memory of Suisun City resident Michael Anderson. His sister, Donna Goutermont of Juneau, Alaska, asked the city to establish the memorial bench late last year. (Ian Thompson/Daily Republic)

SUISUN CITY — It was a bench where Donna Goutermont figured her brother may have spent his lunchtimes at if he was still alive.

A Suisun City Public Works crew placed a plaque on the bench Wednesday afternoon, dedicating it in the memory of Suisun City resident Michael John Anderson, who committed suicide Oct. 18, 2010, at the age of 47, according to Goutermont.

He had worked for Solano County as an employment resource specialist for 10 years after working at GTE Mobilnet and Lawrence Berkeley Labs before.

Goutermont decided on the memorial bench in Suisun City “since he lived and worked there.”

She had thought about putting a bench back in his home town in Minnesota, “but Mike didn’t like the cold and the snow, so I figured this would be a great place.”

This is the second such memorial bench that Suisun City has dedicated, according to Public Works Supervisor Jeff Penrod, who attached the memorial plaque Wednesday afternoon.

Goutermont loved the idea that the bench is by the waterfront and smiles at the fact that she didn’t realize how close it was to where her brother worked.

“I wanted some type of park setting where people could go and sit and remember and think about how great life really is, and where the bench is, it has a very calming aspect, and a great place to sit and just see the beauty around you,” Goutermont said.

Goutermont explained her thinking that led to the bench dedication.

“It is hard to lose a loved one no matter what the circumstances are, but when a person takes their life, it really makes the survivors question things even more – What could I have done to stop this? Why didn’t I see this coming? Why couldn’t they reach out to me and talk to me? – so this bench is in honor of him.”

“If this bench can bring something that was so sad and hurtful, bring happiness to one person and even save one person’s life, then the bench has done its purposes, either by calling the number that is on the plaque and talking to someone, or maybe even reaching out to someone else for help,” she said.

Goutermont said she does plan, some day, to visit the bench and spread some of his ashes around the bench.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or ithompson@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
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