I was doing online research for my wife when I accidentally came across Heather O’Rourke’s memorial web site.
Obviously I remembered Heather from her signature role of Carol Anne in the original “Poltergeist.” Being a fan I clicked on the page.
I saw a link labeled “Heather’s uncle” which led to an email address. I simply sent a note saying my family and I enjoyed the late star’s work. A few days later I received a response. Being skeptical, I did a little research and, sure enough, it actually was her uncle who emailed me back.
So Kevin and I exchanged a couple more notes. Then he did something very kind that we didn’t expect. We considered what we could do in return. The idea of simply planting a tree in Heather’s name to honor her memory came to mind.
So we did, in Chippewa National Forest.
We sent Kevin and two other family members a card each from “The Trees Remember” about the act. On Thanksgiving night my phone pinged with an email from Heather’s family thanking us for what we had done.
So, a little bit later I thought, why can’t her fans or anyone do this for Heather while helping our forest agencies? I pitched the idea to Kevin and they discussed it. The late actress’ family gave its approval.
Thus began “The Heather O’Rourke Forest Conservation” and the accompanying web site.
Our mission is to pay tribute to Heather by encouraging people to help our National Forests. They’re in danger, as are the wildlife that inhabit them.
Damage from storms, fire and man-made elements have caused the beauty of our forests to suffer. While nature can be preserved with our help, Heather’s life and wonderful talent in film can be remembered, too.
It’s due to her family’s kindness towards us and, more importantly, because of Heather herself. She entertained us from the age of six to 12 and was beloved for her talent and her heart.
She deserves to be remembered.
Matt Wallace is a field service engineer who enjoys film and hockey. You can follow the The Heather O’Rourke Forest Conservation on Twitter @heather_forest.