Kate Svitek Memorial Foundation
Kate Svitek Memorial Foundation

From Loved Ones & Friends

Letter from Jen Dwyer

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Svitek and Mike,

Every time I have sat down to write for you, it was because some thing or some part of my day has reminded of Kate. Lately, it has been just about everything. At yet, each time I write something I feel it is incomplete or not nearly enough to describe for you how amazing of a person Kate was. Kate had the most amazing presence and her passionate spirit will live on forever in everyone who knew her.

Unlike most of Kate’s friends from UVM who knew her for most of their time at UVM, Kate and I only got to know each other in our junior year. It seems like I had such a small amount of time to get to know her, but I got to know her pretty well in that time. Looking back on my friendships from school, I value my friendship with Kate as one of the greatest. I am so happy and grateful that I had her as a part of my life and will have her as a part of me forever. Kate always made me smile and laugh, and every time I think of her I smile. I’ve found myself lately at work typing about something completely boring, thinking of Kate, and I just smile.

I don’t think it was until the beginning of senior year that Kate and I realized how much we had in common. We both loved the outdoors and were always up for doing something. Kate was the person I could call at 11pm or 1am and she would go out with me, or I could call her at 8am and she would go for a bike ride with me, or to the mountain in like 10 minutes notice.

We discovered one day that we both loved to ride our bikes and no one would ever go with either of us. So, senior fall, until it got so cold that our hands would freeze, we would ride our bikes on the Intervale in Burlington and then find random trails leading to the bike path. At the end of the year, one of the paths I suggested ended us up way out on Shelburne Road in Shelburne. I looked at Kate and I was like, "Kate, I’m so sorry we ended up so far away" ..and instead of getting annoyed, Kate was like "oh, I’ve always wondered how to get out here." That was one of the amazing things about her, turning any situation into fun. One time we finally convinced Kathy to come for a bike ride with us and Kate and I were so excited. The three of us had a fantastic time, until Kathy and I turned around and realized Kate wasn’t there. We slowed down to find out that, of course, the one time Kathy had come, Kate popped a tire. We ended up walking from where we got out of the woods all the way to the nearest pay phone. We spent forever trying to call everyone we know, and finally Jill Hearty came and picked Kate up. We waited outside of Grand Union while Kate was looking at the free real estate magazines from the grocery store pointing out real estate she was interested in. She loved those real estate catalogue things.

Kate wasn’t afraid of things, she had an incredible strength of putting things into great perspective, and a perfect example is Kate’s advice on my fear of flying. I must start by telling you I am absolutely terrified to fly. And whenever Kate heard about this she would laugh at me and say in her distinct Kate voice, "that is ridiculous Dwyer". And she would tell me to get on the plane, whatever will be, will be. On more than one flight since the time Kate told me that, I have sat on the plane thinking to myself, "Okay, Kate is totally fine with this, she flys all the time, and because she is not scared she gets to do the coolest things, she said it’s crazy that I am making myself scared, and there is really nothing to be scared of." This advice came to me again a few weeks ago on a flight to Florida. I was so scared, and Kate just kept running through my mind. I kept telling myself "I am wasting my time worrying, Kate is laughing at me right now, she is thinking I am being ridiculous." So basically, in one way or another, on those flights last month, Kate got me through them.

One of the things I always admired about Kate was her independence. She always doing things by herself, and had no problem with it. She had such a free spirit to go and do the things she loved, even if it meant she had to do them alone. The many times I talked to her in Bend, she was so happy and had so many fun stories to tell. She wanted to go out to Bend, and she did. She didn’t think of how far away she was going or who she’d hang out with, she just went. I think she was so incredible for doing it. Kate accomplished so many things that I wish I had the courage to do.

Kate’s spirit will truly light the lives of everyone who knew her. I am a better person because Kate was a part of my life. I think about her all the time, and I think about all of you. Please know that my heart is with you at this difficult time and always.

With Love,

Jen Dwyer

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