In five years, many things around the Town have come and gone.
Most of those things have been forgotten, or have become less important, but that is not the case with the memory of Steven Jones – who was tragically murdered off of Medford Street five years ago on Monday, May 7, while passing by and intervening to break up a fight.
His killer has been sentenced and is jail. Few remember his name.
But the name and memory that the Town still keeps alive is that of Jones, and that was no more apparent than on Monday when about 100 or more friends and family came together at Eden Street Park to mark the fifth year of his death with a balloon launch.
In fact, his memory still remains so strong in the Town that some of the black and red and gold balloons refused to leave Eden Street following their release – hanging out in the trees for several minutes before floating up into the sky with the rest of them.
The event was coordinated by The Charlestown Coalition’s Turn It Around group (where Jones was the first member), by family, by friends, and especially by his mother – who said she has moved from grieving to celebrating the life of her only son, who would be 26 this year.
“His friends, his family, they all came here today,” said Jones’s mother, Susan Rawlinson. “They’re all here, and that means something. It means a lot we have all these people here to remember Steven because sometimes as time goes by people move on. His friends and family and the people of this Town continue to show up. They’re still showing up five years later. This year, I’m in a different place with my grieving. This year, it’s more of a celebration and a way to go forward. Instead of being so sad and just getting by every day, I’m like Alicia Keys now, I’m on fire.”
Friend Elaine Donovan spoke at the memorial, and said the community should be commended for not going away, but staying by Rawlinson’s side throughout the last five years.
“On that night, I found myself in a place I never thought I would be,” she said. “I never thought I would be in that situation…This Town never forgot. This is a celebration of Steven’s life.”
Rawlinson said she is moving forward now by doing good things that Jones would have wanted to do were he still alive.
Having worked on addiction and homelessness outreach, Rawlinson said sometimes she would take Jones along with her on outreach trips when he was older. She said she recalls one time when he really reached out. It’s something she wants to find a way to continue in his memory.
“You never know if they’re watching you or what they think of what you’re doing,” she said. “But I remember one night, he reached under the tarp to put a hand out to help one homeless woman. It was on his heart. He asked if he could get her some food or drive her to the shelter. He wanted to help her, and I remember that distinctly. I want to do something to carry that on for him.”
Jones also had a bench painted and dedicated to him in Eden Street Park, at the corner of Main Street. His #44 Pop Warner number inscribed on it, and the memory of his love of lacrosse.
Like the balloons in the trees on Monday, it’s apparent that Jones’s memory hasn’t easily dislodged from the Town.