“This he would have loved”

“John was not a person who liked a lot of attention but this he would have loved,” said Michael Fraley, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the City of Erie (HACE). A service remembering John Horan (+2-25-16) and his commitment to the earth was held on April 27th by the Benedictine Sisters of Erie at the place where trees have been planted in his memory. The trees, donated by HACE, were planted as part of the streamside restoration project* at Glinodo. The event was coordinated by Sister Pat Lupo and the prayer service was planned by Sister Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski. It was attended by HACE staff and board members, Erie Police officers, Benedictine Sisters, oblates and friends.

John Horan, executive director of HACE at the time of his death, a position he held for almost 40 years, had been very supportive of environmental initiatives throughout the Erie Housing Authority properties. He is also remembered for his many innovative ideas that served to better the city of Erie. His motto was simple: “It’s about people.” His countless efforts and his very person brought that motto to life in innumerable ways. A memorial rock has been engraved to mark the area where the trees have been planted. It honors John Horan, a dedicated and hard-working visionary whose contributions positively impacted the lives of thousands of underprivileged Erie residents.

At the conclusion of the service, Fraley expressed appreciation to the Benedictine Sisters: “John loved the Benedictines because they always challenged him to be the best person he could be in every way possible. Thank you for all that you do and for this very special moment.”

“We are grateful for the kind words of Mike Fraley,” said Sister Anne Wambach, prioress. “Erie is a better city because of the immeasurable opportunities John Horan worked to make available for so many through public housing, educational support and outreach programs. The staff of HACE, under Mike’s leadership, is continuing John’s legacy with dedication and commitment. This, too, John would have loved.”

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*Streambank gets a new look
The Benedictine Sisters of Erie applied for and were awarded a $140,000 Penn State Sea Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener Program to restore a stretch of Seven-Mile Creek which runs through property belonging to the Erie Benedictines, emptying into Lake Erie.

Several months of work aimed at countering the effects of erosion by widening and strengthening 500 feet of a streambank buffer have been completed. Restoration monitoring to improve fish habitat, water quality and the reduction of sedimentation entering the stream is in place. New landscaping and the planting of native trees and plants were made possible by the Erie Housing Authority in memory of John E. Joran, executive director for almost 40 years until his death in 2016.

Sister Pat Lupo, environmental advocate and educator, has represented the Benedictine Sisters of Erie and been integrally involved in this project.