by Dennis Dalman
The memory of Tom Bearson lives on, with three basketball courts planned in his honor for Pinecone Central Park.
Bearson, the son of Greg and Debbie Bearson, was a Sartell High School graduate and basketball star who was found murdered in Moorhead on September 20, 2014. At the time, he was attending North Dakota State University, planning to become a nurse. anesthetist. His murder is still unsolved.
At the April 25 Sartell Town Council meeting, Bearson’s father, Greg, made a presentation with slide show to council on the Tom Bearson Memorial Courts. The project will be a collaboration between Sartell and the Tom Bearson Foundation, with the foundation donating $150,000 for the courts. Greg noted that the foundation already has $50,000 and the remaining $100,000 needs to be raised. The city’s share would be approximately $75,000.
Preliminary work on the courts will begin this spring in the northern part of the park.
Addressing the council, Bearson said that after Tom’s death, the devastated family kept asking themselves, “Why Tom?” This incessant questioning led them to wonder about the meaning of their lives. The support of the people of Sartell was crucial to their healing process. Bearson then listed some of the things the family learned: that Sartell is a wonderful community, that compassion is so important to hurting hearts, that giving to others is much-needed food for the soul, and that “the Happiness can be found in darkness if only one learns to turn on the light.
After the tragedy of losing their son, the Bearsons, friends and supporters created the Tom Bearson Foundation to give back to the community. Over the past seven years, the 18-member foundation has raised $130,000 for good deeds, including scholarships for students, an annual Tommy B. Night high school basketball festival, funds for the Sartell community center, guest speakers who spoke to students about personal safety strategies, and a complete renovation of the gymnasium at St. Francis Xavier School where Bearson as a child loved to play basketball.
As his wife sat in the council chamber audience, Bearson described their son as smart, funny, athletic, popular, kind and generous.
The new full-size courts, Bearson said, will be a destination for many players from Sartell and beyond. One of the six hoops to be installed will be the hoop Tom Bearson used so often at home growing up. Over the next few years, spectator seating will be added to the courts, along with additional landscaping.
Following Bearson’s presentation, Sartell Administrator Anna Gruber showed a slide of the location of the courts in Pinecone Central Park, then highlighted several other amenities soon to be built in the park: an expanded parking lot near the dog park, a skating rink by flooding this parking lot. lots in winter, new playgrounds and more trails.
City Council members expressed their enthusiasm and gratitude for the public-private collaboration with the Tom Bearson Foundation.
There are two ways to donate to the Tom Bearson Memorial Basketball Courts project. A check can be sent to The Tom Bearson Foundation, PO Box 351, Sartell, MN 56377. Online contributions via Paypal can also be made by going to tombearson.org/memorial-basketball-court then scrolling down to Paypal yellow “Donate” button.