Celebrating a life taken too soon | PostIndependent.com

Celebrating a life taken too soon

April E. ClarkGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. The day before Zach Schwartz’s funeral, his cousin wrote a song about the 16-year-old’s death.Jimmy Macias – known as K-OSS in his hip-hop group 2 Real 4 da Mind – wrote “In Loving Memory” about how tough it was to lose his teen cousin in a fatal car accident.And he expressed how his faith has helped him cope with grief.”I wrote it in a hotel a day before Zach’s funeral,” said Macias, a rapper based in Boulder. “So far, it seems like everything I heard from fans is they love it, which in a way is odd because when I wrote the song I was making it for my family.”

Macias and 2 Real 4 da Mind perform Saturday at an all-ages benefit concert for the Zach Schwartz Scholarship Fund. The event – from 7-11 p.m. at Coal Ridge High School – honors Schwartz, who died in a one-vehicle accident on the way to basketball camp on July 4, 2006.”I think it’s a great opportunity just to get out there and remember Zach and listen to music, let the kids share in their grief,” event co-organizer Tammy Klein said.

Klein’s son Alex, a sophomore at Coal Ridge, was one of four friends in the deadly accident on Silt Mesa. Alex Klein survived the accident, suffering a broken back.After a lengthy recovery process, Alex Klein has returned to playing basketball. Saturday, he’ll play in a basketball game against Hotchkiss before the concerts begin.The day will be bittersweet – one of life’s lessons learned from the tragedy.”When he plays basketball, he feels Zach is with him,” Tammy Klein said. “He doesn’t want Zach to ever be forgotten. He just knows how important it is.”Through the power of music, so does Macias.”I wasn’t planning on “In Loving Memory” being a song many people would like,” he said. “I just wrote down my feelings and Siklone (Anthony Romero) helped me put a hook on it.”Macias fondly remembers playing sports with his cousin as kids.

“My best memory of him was shooting hoops and playing hockey with him and his brother, Josh,” he said. And he recalls how honorable his cousin could be.”Zach was a very respectable person, and he had a certain charisma about him that everyone liked,” Macias said. “Zach was a person you felt very privileged to know. This had a huge impact on our family because we really never lost anyone, at least anyone we were real close to. Almost everyone in our family got a tattoo in his honor – even though most of us, including myself, never planned on getting one.”Tammy Klein shared similar memories of her son’s close friend. She hopes the community will come out Saturday to celebrate his life.”He was a truly, truly great kid,” she said. “This is close to my heart. I think it helps us all to heal.”Along with 2 Real 4 da Mind, the Zach Schwartz Concert Benefit features country band Cowboy Attitude and rock group The Missing Link. Cost is $10 to enjoy the music and homemade chili and food. “There’s something for everybody,” Tammy Klein said. “It’s amazing the outpour from the community. People have been opening their hearts and their wallets.”

A silent auction, opening at 3 p.m., offers items for bid ranging from free wings for a year to Denver Nuggets tickets. The event goal is to raise upwards of $12,000 for the scholarship fund.And to never forget Zach Schwartz.Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. 16601aclark@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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