becomes artificial reef
MARCO ISLAND, Florida (July 25,
2002) Victor A. Hill - When Robin
Fannin was 10 years old, she put her handprint in a slab of
concrete outside the home of her sister, Nora
years later, Ralston put her own imprint in
concrete is different.
Fannin's ashes, mixed into concrete to become part of an
artificial reef off Marco Island's shore.
died of leukemia Oct. 23 in Indianapolis, Ind. Her reef module
will be one of several deployed Tuesday, Aug. 6, at a
permitted site south of Marco Island in the Ten Thousand
Islands. It is one of 22 artificial reefs in Collier
remains, and those of others, will form an artificial reef
that will serve as a refuge for fish. It's a final,
philanthropic gesture from a woman who put the needs of others
above her own throughout her life, Ralston said.
"She was into
She worked with
the homeless and donated blood," Ralston said.
Fannin began losing her hair, the result of chemotherapy to
treat her leukemia, she gave. Fannin had her hair cut for
donation to Locks for Love, an organization that provides wigs
to children diagnosed with cancer.
came March 26, 2001, and she got her affairs in
As a certified
scuba diver, Fannin loved the water and wanted to be close to
it, even in death.
"Robin said she
wanted to be buried at sea," Ralston said.
eventually discovered Eternal Reefs Inc., a 4-year-old
Georgia-based company that offers burials with a
"I can take no
credit except for doing as I'm told," Ralston said.
Fannin's ashes to Eternal Reefs and later drove down to
participate in casting Fannin into a concrete
"I mixed her
ashes with some water and took some concrete out of the
bucket," Ralston said.
"I put a little
bit of her in at a time."
remembered the day 21 years ago when Fannin made her handprint
in concrete, and Ralston made one of her own.
getting a kick out of it," Ralston said.
A plaque on
Fannin's module reads: "Robin Fannin/March 10, 1970 - October
23, 2001/ Robin was not finished with life."
As many as 15
modules with 11 sets of remains could be deployed next month,
said Don Brawley, president of Eternal Reefs.
has created and added to artificial reefs in Sarasota, Fort
Lauderdale, Pensacola and Charleston, S.C. The company works
with municipalities and uses their permitted locations for
will be done with help from the Marco Rod and Gun Club, a
local organization that lobbies for the creation of artificial
reefs for fishing. The club holds permits for two sites off
Collier County's shores.
help tow reef modules by boat to the site, using floating
bladders to keep the modules afloat until their
deployment. Divers will place the modules on the bottom,
and family members of the deceased will participate in a
memorial service on the water.
lives in Rome, Ohio, will be there to bid her sister
provides an alternative that offers families a certain solace,
knowing their loved ones have a permanent resting place and
are continuing to give of themselves, Brawley said.
what Fannin wanted, Ralston said.
Her sister was
a jack-of-all- trades, an aircraft mechanic who eventually
taught others, especially women, how to repair planes, Ralston
"She was always
extreme," Ralston said.
So it's no
surprise Fannin made what some might think is a rather
unorthodox decision to be mixed with concrete and buried in
the Gulf of Mexico.
typical Robin," Ralston said. "I feel like it's just the next
SOURCE - Marco