Tessa Horan Remembered as Exuberant and Passionate

February 6, 2006

The family of Tessa Horan issued the following statement regarding her life and dedication to helping others. See also the Peace Corps' News Release on Tessa for more information.

Tessa will be remembered most as a worldly person and a giver who never shied away from following her passion. In her short 24 years, Tessa did more than most people do in a lifetime.

Tessa had a deep passion for the outdoors. And she always wanted to share that passion with those around her, whether she was a kayak instructor or a member of the ski patrol. Tessa thrived when she could help others grow.

While teaching in her Tongan village, Tessa lived her dream to learn and share with others her vitality and knowledge. Tessa died serving others, and in helping her village. Tessa taught us all what it means to truly live, and in the process, she touched those around her. Everyone Tessa touched became a better person, and we are glad she had the opportunity to follow her passion. Her love for life, adventure and her fellow human beings is a guiding light for us all.

Tessa's parents, Kevin Horan and Kristina Prater, had these words for Tessa.

"Our daughter was an exuberant being. She was convinced early on of her purpose. She sought to understand herself through a headlong onslaught at spirituality, by going to extremes-cold, warmth, heights and depths. She put herself in uncompromising situations with nature and she believed through these risks she could experience a oneness with the elements.

"Tessa used this preparation to acknowledge the reality that death is with us all the time. We believe she reached enlightenment in the way she died. She was OK with it. She accepted death, and perhaps because she was engaged in renouncing the material world, she was able to pass over so quickly.

"She left us with a real sense of heart. Tessa was about heart."

Tessa immediately put her talents to use helping the people of Tonga through her work in the Peace Corps. In one of her last e-mails home she wrote, "We have had our first meeting with the youth and we are planning to fix their wharf, make a veg garden, get a college prep teacher to come and finish the school library. All of which takes money that we don't have. So we will have to work on some fundraising and grant writing. I am inexperienced in this area so if anyone has ideas or materials on how to write grants send them my way. I will also check out the Internet. All of the people in the town are super welcoming and bringing me food and introducing themselves. I am working on collecting books for the library project because there aren't any!!!!! I am so much more happy here. I love you all and hope your lives are full of blessings."

As we struggle to find peace in the aftermath of this tragedy, it is our goal to accomplish Tessa's dream. We are establishing a memorial fund in order to build the library Tessa envisioned. Through the generosity and compassion of those who knew and loved Tessa we have already raised $10,000 in Tessa's memory. For details on Tessa's memorial fund, please continue to monitor her Web site at www.tessahoran.com.
We are grateful for the outpouring of support from her friends across the world and for those expressing their condolences in our time of grief.

Tessa was a Santa Fe native, a graduate of Saint Michael's High School and The College of Santa Fe.

Tessa is survived in life by her father, Kevin Horan; her mother, Kristina Prater; her, stepfather, Joseph Burke; her companion, Scott Jones; her godmother, Peggy McDowell; her godfather, Doug McDowell; her brothers, Xavier Horan, Devin Burke and Patrick McDowell; her sisters, Jasmine Burke, Nicole Stitt and Kaitlyn McDowell; and her grandfather, Kenneth Prater.

Memorial serviine Burke, Nicole Stitt and Kaitlyn McDowell; and her grandfather, Kenneth Prater.

Memorial services are being planned for this Saturday, February 11th at Saint Francis Auditorium 107 W. Palace Ave., Santa Fe. People are invited to gather at 1:00 and services will start at 2:00.

We wish to thank all the people who have sent their love, support and kind wishes for Tessa. We look forward to carrying on the work she had started.

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