By Ashley Luthern
The acoustic song “Swing Life Away” will stay with Krysti Horvat forever.
Horvat, a junior at Youngstown State University, and a few others had the phrase “Swing Life Away” tattooed in honor of their friend, 20-year-old Brandy Stevens-Rosine, who was murdered last spring.
“It was one of her favorite songs. The song is so mellow, just like her,” said Horvat, who said the tattoos were modeled after one Stevens-Rosine had.
The words “Swing Life Away” from the song by Rise Against also are printed on bracelets for sale to benefit a memorial fund for Stevens- Rosine, who was studying sociology at YSU.
Horvat and Carrie Rosine, Brandy’s mother, will offer the bracelets at Sunday’s Boardman Rotary Oktoberfestival for a suggested donation of $3 per bracelet or two for $5.
The funds will be used for a memorial bench, and possibly a tree, at YSU and to create a scholarship at Boardman High School.
Stevens-Rosine was found dead May 23, buried in a shallow grave in Cochranton, Pa., after leaving her Beaver Township residence May 17. Two women are charged with criminal homicide in her death.
The cost for the memorial bench is $2,500, and the cost of the tree is $1,500, said Rosine, who added she knows friends and loved ones need a physical place to remember her daughter.
“One reason we put the bench idea together was that people were asking where she was buried to pay their respects. I had her cremated; I wasn’t going to bury her again,” Rosine said. “I know her friends need some place to go and talk to her.”
They’ve already raised about $900 and are hoping to add more funds and awareness this weekend.
“Since Brandy attended Boardman High School, a lot of people knew her. We thought the Oktoberfestival would be a great opportunity to be around people who knew her: friends, teachers and others,” Rosine said.
Rosine said her daughter was involved in so much in Boardman, from volunteering at the library to playing upright bass in the high school orchestra.
Her daughter’s love of music was the inspiration for the proposed scholarship qualifications of having at least a 2.5 grade-point average and planning to major in music, music theory or the performing arts. Rosine hopes the scholarship will be in place for the 2013 graduation.
She also has planned to offer prize baskets at the Oktoberfestival booth to benefit the memorial fund. The baskets will include a shirt or hat of her daughter’s.
“She was known for always wearing a different shirt. She had so many different ones in all colors,” Rosine said. “... And it didn’t matter who you were; she was so caring she would give you the shirt off her back.”
Horvat, who designed the bracelets and many of the memorial fund materials, said she thinks about her friend often.
“It’s hard to put into words. She lit up a room when she walked in, and you could tell her anything. ... She was smart and witty and energetic,” Horvat said.
Donations can be made at any Huntington Bank branch to the Brandy Stevens Rosine Memorial Fund.