In a community shocked and saddened by the death of three Boy Scouts and their leader in a car crash last year, an artistic bench in Memorial Park highlights the life and times of one of them, Nick Naples.
“This is a special project,” said the artist Lois Sprague.
Sprague, a nationally-recognized artist who lives in Teller County, was asked to memorialize Naples in bench artistry. Working from photographs and stories, Sprague has created a pictorial account of a teenager who seized life with youthful zest.
“He did so many things,” Sprague said. “I wanted to make sure that every badge he earned in Scouting was on that sash.”
Sprague relied on Naple's mother, Laurie, to capture the boy's personality. “I wanted to know his character, his strengths. I think that really came through with all the things Laurie gave me,” Sprague said.
Nick's mother is pleased. “When you look at the bench, Lois really captured Nick. I don't think Lois realizes how supportive this bench is going to be for us as family and for all other families that have lost children,” Naples said. “We're the walking wounded who will never recover; we go on but when you see something like this bench, I think it will help Nick's friends.”
Naples praises the city of Woodland Park for its support of the project and the dedication in the park one year to the day of the accident June 30 in Wyoming. “Our city manager, David Buttery, and I have indicated to the families of the boys since day one that we are here for them, that they are in our hearts and that we would assist them in any way we could with memorials to help us all remember these fine young men,” said Woodland Park Mayor Dave Turley. “Memorial Park is a special place with several memorials to those who have left us too soon. The bench in memory of Nick Naples helps us remember one of our finest young men.”