[nfbwatlk] South Park basketball courts honor Teresa Butz, slain last year, Seattle Times, July 24 2010

Nightingale, Noel Noel.Nightingale at ed.gov
Thu Jul 29 21:12:54 UTC 2010

For those of you who had the pleasure of meeting Teresa Butz, who attended several NFB of Washington events.


South Park basketball courts honor Teresa Butz, slain last year
A year after the slaying of Teresa Butz, South Park community members came together Friday afternoon to dedicate a new basketball court to her.
By Jill Kimball
Seattle Times staff reporter

Teresa Butz was all of 5-foot-2, but that didn't keep her from playing basketball, a sport that favors 6-foot women.

That's why newly constructed basketball courts, just paces from Butz's former home in South Park, were dedicated Friday afternoon to the avid athlete and Seattle Storm fan.

It's been one year since Butz, 39, died at the hands of a man who broke into the home she shared with her partner, threatening to kill both of them if they didn't submit to his sexual demands. He raped and stabbed them both. Butz died; her partner was hospitalized but survived.

Butz's partner, now 37, still feels the pain of the loss, but things have gotten better.

"When someone leaves us - it doesn't matter how - there's a hole," the woman said. "Doing something in the name of someone I love helps fill the hole a little bit."

She stood amid more than 50 children, watching happily as they got free basketball lessons from Seattle Storm players at two new courts outside the South Park Community Center.

She said part of the money that made the new courts possible came from Fight the Fear Campaign, a violence-prevention initiative created in honor of Butz. The Storm and the Seattle Police Department also donated money.

"Community centers are often a focal point in the community," Storm CEO Karen Bryant said. "We hope we're helping out a lot of kids and families by giving them this positive place."

Seattle police Detective Kim Bogucki said South Park residents had desperately wanted a new basketball court on what had been nothing more than cracked asphalt surface a few months ago, but "in this economic climate, there just haven't been the funds for it."

Bogucki found a way to bring several donors together in time to celebrate Butz's life a year after her death.

"I knew her, and I knew she was a huge basketball fan," Bogucki said. "She would have been impressed by this."

Butz's partner said the return to her old neighborhood was bittersweet.

"This is where we fell in love," she said. "It's hard to see the house."

The past year, she said, has been full of "tremendous pain and tremendous sorrow, right alongside the greatest joys and the greatest triumphs" - emotions she didn't know could exist in tandem.

It's an event like this, the unveiling of a new basketball court in a low-income neighborhood where many struggle financially, that drives out the sorrow in Butz's partner.

"This is healing and hopeful, and that's the one thing that makes the tragedy bearable," she said.

Jill Kimball: 206-464-2136 or jkimball at seattletimes.com

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