Last Thursday a new Peace Pole was dedicated at the Highland Rotary Centennial Garden on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in memory of Donna Deeprose [1940-2022]. The Peace Pole contains the phrase ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’, and is written in numerous world languages.
Rotarian Christine Giangrasso opened the ceremony with a Prayer for World Peace.
“We pray for peace and love in all nations among all the people that all wars and hatred will end."
“We pray for those who suffer from war, injustice and intolerance and for the children, young people, the poor and the neglected ones, we pray for peace in our life, lands, nations and families.”
Donna’s husband Raphael Diaz said, “this is a Peace Pole and she is the essence of Peace and that means a lot to me.” He said its location in the Centennial Garden is very appropriate.
Diaz is of Cuban heritage but was born in New York City, pointing out that Donna was born in Vilna, Alberta, Canada (pop. 268) and remained a Canadian citizen all her life.
“She loved the United States and being a Canadian but didn’t believe in fealty to any nation, but she loved people and her community more,” he said. “She could have become an American citizen but she decided against it.”
Raphael and Donna met at a coffee hour while they both were in graduate School at Columbia University in New York City. She was studying Journalism and he was in International Affairs. The couple married six months later and were together for 59 years.
Doug Sturomski is the Ambassador of Peace for the Highland Rotary District 7210. He highlighted the five steps to inner peace: Control your thought; Stop resisting ‘what is; Live in the present moment; Express gratitude and appreciation and Meditate.
Sturomski led Rotary members in playing ‘Ode To Joy’ and ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth’ using hand bells.
Diaz thanked the Rotary for honoring his late wife. He sent their son a picture of the pole and he responded that, “Mom would have loved it.”
Diaz said Donna did a lot of volunteer work with Rotary and she received the ‘Service Above Self Award’ that is given to a non-member and in her case, she was also the first spouse of a Rotarian to receive it.
Diaz pointed out that Donna had a big impact upon the Hudson Valley Rail Trail and together where they ran a ‘Learn to Run’ class. He found that Donna would often linger behind with the slowest runner in order to help them out.
“So the linkage of peace, rotary and the rail trail all fits together very nicely and I thank everybody for thinking of her,” Diaz said.