Memorial event held for Thierry Heuga
BENNINGTON — About 20 people gathered on Saturday afternoon for a memorial service for Thierry Joseph Patrick Heuga, a homeless man whose body was found under a bridge on Feb. 10, one day shy of his 58th birthday.
The service was the idea of Addison "Addie" Lentzner, local high school student and burgeoning playwright whose one-act play, "Bridge Theory," was performed at the ceremony at the Unitarian Universalist Meetinghouse. The production portrayed a conversation between Huega, Laurie Monohon, his onetime girlfriend, and their son, Justin.
Among those who had gathered were Addie and her godfather, ceremony moderator Joey Kulkin, who said that his job was to "tie up loose ends."
But that this was Addie's gift to Huega. "Addie is one of the most compassionate souls on the planet," Kulkin said of Addie, her play and the service. "She wants to save the world."
Addie knew Huega from Fiddleheads, the art and specialized craft shop her father, Joel Lentzner, owns and operates. It was a spot the homeless man frequented.
Lentzner recalled that when Heuga first came into Fiddleheads almost 20 years ago, he thought the man was a movie star. "I thought to myself, `What's this guy doing in here? He should be in Hollywood.'"
State Representative and Select Board member Jim Carroll and state Sens. Brian Campion and Dick Sears attended. "When something like this happens, I think it's good for the community to gather and have a conversation," not just about the person, but about what happened, Campion said.
"No community wants something like this to happen," he said, adding that the question now is, "How can things like this be stopped in the future?"
The service was also attended by Heuga's friends and fellow homeless people, and friends and councilors from the Johnson Group Home therapuetic residence.
Gail Mears knew Heuga from their late 20s.
"I remember that he was very bright. Very talented. Very positive," Mears said. "I haven't seen him [in years], but I started contacting people at the group home [after hearing of his death] and everyone had the same experience with him: Positive, positive, positive."
It was at the Johnson Group Home where he met Monohon.
She said during the service that, "If I was asked if I still loved Theirry, I'd say yes."
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