Mayor’s Message: Syracuse Heritage Days

There was nothing unusual in the fact that five-year-old Kyle Fields was drawn to horses. His father, raised in Wyoming, was a horseman; his grandfather was a rancher. Kyle’s parents purchased property and built a house in a new subdivision of the time, Ranchettes West named as a home for the gentleman rancher or farmer. Jayne and I had just returned with our young family from Chicago.

On a previously quiet July day in 1982, little Kyle put his foot into the stirrup of a saddled horse. The animal, spooked by something, lurched. Kyle’s foot became entangled in the stirrup. The boy was dragged by the horse for a quarter mile on the subdivision’s new asphalt street before it was contained by his father. Kyle laid motionless, critically hurt. The entire community groaned at the news spreading like wildfire. He was flown by helicopter to the University of Utah Burn Center beginning his long recovery. I’m happy to say he’s a handsome, beloved, forty-something man today with a family of his own!

During those long, arduous days of recovery, I watched a community rally to the Fields’ family with prayers offered, meals delivered, and children cared for so Jeannie and Ernie could attend to Kyle. If new to our community, this bit of history may not be part of your past but is now part of your heritage. Webster defines “heritage” as something transmitted by or acquired from a predecessor.

I stood recently on a bridge observing the Ogden River. I know the sources of that river well. For decades, family has recreated in and around the North, Middle and South forks of that river. Each begins in a remote setting in the Wasatch back of Weber County. Each of us is a single drop in that river and each with unique origins. The lucky call Syracuse a birthplace. Most began either north, south, east or west of here. Today, however, we all flow under the same bridge.

Surprisingly, geologists tell us the path carved by the Ogden River predates the formation of the Wasatch Mountains. Each drop of water today follows a path gouged by predecessor drops, 15 million years ago. Our Syracuse heritage is like that river’s path.

Syracuse Heritage Days was established by resolution of the City Council on July 25, 1989. Although there were predecessor celebrations, our antics in June each year echo that shared path. Please come and enjoy!

At this year’s Syracuse Heritage Days Parade, I will focus the City’s attention on two couples whose actions preserved Syracuse heritage for all of the rest of us. I have appointed Mrs. Ethelene Holt and Mrs. Genene Rentmeister as grand marshals of the parade to honor their efforts, along with their deceased husbands, Clayton and Don. Clayton is the author of the book, The Community of Syracuse – 1820-1995. The Syracuse Museum is largely the result of the work of Don and Genene Rentmiester. I will be presenting Ethelene and Genene and their husbands, posthumously, the Key to the City on June 29, 2019. Please come!

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