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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • New track honors local father and son

  • A new track behind Southwest Elementary School has been created as a way to remember a young boy who loved to run.
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  • A new track behind Southwest Elementary School has been created as a way to remember a young boy who loved to run.
    The track called “Luke’s Miles of Smiles” is in memory of Luke Teerlinck, a student at Southwest, and his father, Scott Teerlinck, of Geneseo who died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident last June.
    “Luke loved Recess Running Club,” said Luke’s aunt, Lori Schefsky.
    “The day of the funeral, I was in the garage and we were talking about Luke’s ‘Toe Tokens’ and that he was so proud of them,” said his mother Jill Teerlinck. “Then, a week after, we were thinking of uses for the memorial money and I remembered Luke said the grass was long, it was hard to run and his feet got wet (running through the grass for Recess Running Club behind Southwest). I knew it was a desire to have a track at Southwest and it is a great way to honor him.”
    The Recess Running Club was started in the Spring of 2013 and gives students an opportunity to be physically active and a chance to run, but is completely volunteer, said Southwest physical education teacher Philip Moe.
    Moe also started awarding Toe Tokens, which are mini shaped feet that go on students’ shoe laces when they run a mile.
    Plans for the track started in August, and work began during the school’s spring break. The work was done by Miller Excavating, but, due to the weather, the asphalt was not laid until May.
    “I had Luke for two years in class and he was a kid who just enjoyed anything he did and put his heart and soul into everything,” said Moe. “He did Recess Running Club about every time. He was definitely one of the biggest advocates for it. (The track) is absolutely a fitting way to remember him.”
    A track dedication ceremony was May 22 for family, friends, staff and students.
    “I was happy to see the fifth-grade faces, which expressed the love they have for Luke,” said Teerlinck at the dedication.
    Classmates and friends of Luke, Faith Henderson and Hannah Stebly, remembered their friend during a speech at the dedication.
    “Luke always made everyone laugh. He was an amazing friend and person to be around,” said Stebly.
    “I knew Luke was put into my life for a reason. He made me laugh and his friendship was one of a kind,” said Henderson.
    Not only was Southwest the perfect spot for the track because Luke attended school there, but, his sister, Brenna is a student, and his mother and father both attended Southwest.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The middle school has its track and there was nothing on this end of town so I see it being used a lot,” said Teerlinck. “It was very easy to do and a good use for the memorial fund. It was a good way to honor them every year.”
    Luke also will be remembered through an annual award called “Mega Miles of Smiles” a classroom award for the most dedicated class in the Recess Running Club.
    “I also thought to have an award every year as another way to honor Luke,” said Teerlinck. “Luke never wanted to exclude anyone so that is why we are having a classroom award.”
    Schefsky said she remembers anything Luke and Brenna were excited about their father Scott was excited about.
    “I remember Luke spent the night at our house one night and the next day Scott and Luke were going camping,” said Schefsky. “It was cold and rainy so I asked Scott if they were still going and he said ‘If you keep putting things off you will never get to them.’ That was the weekend before the accident. It reminds you to take time for what is important. That was one great thing they did things as a family and one-on-one.”
    “Don’t let a day go by without seeing some good in it,” said Teerlinck. “There is always something good in the day.”
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