St. John Library dedicates statue as special memorial

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 22, 2005



LAPLACE — When you lose your wife at the young age of 41, nothing will ever take away the heartache.

But for St. John businessman Joey Scontrino, he can at least find some daily consolation in a special memorial to his wife, Tammy Scontrino, which was dedicated at the LaPlace Library on Thursday.

Tammy Scontrino died in 2001 from breast cancer, and her husband’s longtime service on the Library Board led to a beautiful memorial of his wife right in front of the three-year-old facility, which will also have what Scontrino hopes is a positive effect in the continuing fight against breast cancer.

A statue of Tammy, sitting on a bench with her son Derek resting his head in her lap, and her daughter Nicole jumping rope nearby, speaks volumes about Tammy’s love of children and for the education that comes from books.

Scontrino, a longtime supporter of the library, paid for the statute to be part of a large landscaping piece in front of the facility. Along with the idea of family, Scontrino hopes the memorial will help maintain awareness of the need to find a cure for breast cancer.

“The library is used by a lot of kids and families, and I know personally how devastating breast cancer can be on families. So for Tammy to be remembered here, and raise the awareness for fighting breast cancer, will hopefully help us all to work for a cure,” Scontrino told the group on Thursday morning.

Tammy Scontrino fought the disease for five years before succumbing at the age of 41. She and Joey have two children, a boy and a girl, who are part of the statute with their mom.

Debbie Heltz, a sister-in-law who knew Tammy since she was a child, was part of the celebration on Thursday and saw a lot of reason for the appropriateness of it.

“Tammy loved helping children, and she even volunteered in high school to help kids learn how to read,” she recalled. “She was always involved with kids, and anyone who knew her just loved her. She was that kind of a person, and that’s why this memorial is so perfect.”

Library Director Randy DeSoto echoed the thoughts of Joey Scontrino, about how much the memorial will help raise awareness to fight breast cancer.

“There is hardly a day that goes by when someone doesn’t comment about the statue,” DeSoto said.

The St. John Library Board also issued a proclamation to Scontrino thanking him for his support of the library through the memorial and his years on the board.