Sue (Aaron's mom) watched and gathered ornaments all year for The Festival of Trees. She did such a great job at finding such great western stuff to go on the trees for Aaron. Sue decorated most of them before we got them there, then Christa and I met her there to help finish decorating and setting things up.
Here is the tree donated to The Festival of Trees in honor of Aaron. All proceeds went to Primary Childrens Hospital.
I blacked out the background so that the other trees behind weren't so distracting. This whole set up would go to whoever bought the trees.
Sue had this little old wagon. She asked Steve (Aaron's brother) to come down and work in Aaron's wood shop to turn the wagon into a little mini buckboard. Steve used some old wood that Aaron had in the shop to create this. The horseshoe on the front is one of Shayla's (Aaron's horse) actual shoes that she wore. I got it from my brother in law for Steve to put on there. Steve did a great job. It is so neat.
Best in the West
Aaron Sverre Harkness passed away on November 29, 2007 at the age of 30. As I write these words, I hope to portray who this man is. This man that I love and adore; my husband and my best friend… our gentle and loving cowboy. Best in the West and Tougher than the Rest.
Anyone who had ever crossed paths with Aaron knew him to be a kind, loving, and generous soul. Someone who would do anything for anyone at anytime. Aaron was someone who loved others with a love which was deep and a love which was pure. He had a genuine love and concern for the welfare of others. Not only was he generous with his love, but he was also generous with his time and his energy. He was found to be in the service of others often and was more than happy to offer his strong, helping hands. He knew so much about so many things and was the ‘go to guy’ when others found themselves in need of help. He never complained and often made them feel as though they were doing HIM the favor to let him help. ‘…when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.’ -Mosiah 2:17 … Aaron lived this principle.
Aaron was also a joy to be around. He was passionate about life and though his life was cut way too short, he lived a full and adventurous life. He loved making others happy and he loved to be happy himself. He had a quick wit and loved to make people laugh. Whether he was the hit of the party, or trying to blend into the background, his presence was always known and felt. People were drawn to him. He made those around him feel loved and wanted. Aaron was a strong man and he was a gentle soul. He was a joy to be around.
His most recent job before he passed away was at a Youth Ranch for troubled teenagers. This was a passion of his. He was able to work closely with teenagers who came there feeling like they had no worth. If there was anyone who could help to show them their worth, it was Aaron. He had overcome obstacles in his own life that were key in helping to build his character and mold him into the man that he became. He had so much to teach and so much to offer. After working there for a while, he became their equine therapist. This is where he would teach the kids relationship skills and how to deal with the challenges of life through learning to relate to and manage a horse. This was Aaron’s dream job. He got to experience two of his passions in life… helping people and also working with horses. He really loved working with these kids and seeing them progress.
Aaron truly was a cowboy at heart and he was guiding our son down that same path. I always have loved this aspect of Aaron’s life. Winston Churchill once said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of man.” I fully believe this to be true in Aaron’s life. There was a powerful bond between Aaron and his animals. The last years of his life, he could often be found in the mountains riding his horse, Sheila, with his dog, Ode following behind them. That is when he was in his element and I could tell he found peace and comfort there.
Aaron will forever be a man that was respected and loved. All who knew him were blessed to have him as a part of our lives. All who knew Aaron will forever be grateful for the honor of calling him a friend, uncle, cousin, grandson, nephew, brother, son, daddy, and husband.
…we will love you always, Aaron…
‘…charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.’ -Moroni 7:47