Merrian Carver - Prayer GardenThe Paradise Valley United Methodist Church in Arizona dedicated a bronze statue in remembrance of Merrian Carver, the daughter of Carol Carver and International Cruise Victims president Ken Carver.

We have written about Merrian’s "disappearance" in 2004 during a cruise to Alaska, and Mr. Carver’s five year battle to reform the cruise industry: 

Ken Carver Fights for Cruise Ship Safety 

Family Wins Battle Against Cruise Ship Industry After Daughter’s Disappearance

The local newspaper in Paradise Valley, the Town of Paradise Valley Independent, ran a story about the dedication entitled "Paradise Valley Church Members Dedicate Statue."  The statute is called the "Gift of Life" based on a poem written by Merrian called "The Butterfly."

Senator Kyl from Arizona and Congresswoman Matsui from California submitted letters of thanks and recognition for the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Carver and the International Cruise Victims for working to improve the safety of the cruising public. 

Congresswoman Matsui who introduced the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act of 2009, wrote:

The beautiful bronze statue being dedicated today, depicting a young woman, book in hand, enables Merrian’s spirit to live forever in this picturesque garden outside of the church that was such an integral part of her life . . . 

Prayer Garden - Merrian CarverI want to take this opportunity to not only congratulate you on the completion of this monument, but also to recognize the tremendous efforts of those who have been personally impacted by crimes committed on cruise vessels.  Despite facing insurmountable losses, brave men and women have tirelessly worked toward ensuring that other do not have to endure the pain caused by these senseless acts.

As the author of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety act, I admire the strength and unwavering commitment of Ken and Carol Carver and so many other members of the International Cruise Victims Association, who have tirelessly worked as passionate advocates for recent victims and who have so clearly articulated the need for higher safety standards on cruise vessels.  Their stories have captured the eyes, the ears, and the hearts of lawmakers who begun considering legislation intended to ensure the safety and security of all cruise passengers . . .

Ken and Carol Carver - with Bob Scheelings, Scupltor, "Gift of Life"The statue was created by talented artist Bob Scheelings, who is pictured here with Mr. and Mrs. Carver.

At the moment when the stone foundation for Merrian’s statue was being laid, Mr. Carver received an email from Washington. 

The communications director and legislative assistant for Congresswoman Matsui announced that the House of Representatives was voting on the cruise safety bill and expected the bill to pass overwhelmingly. 

Mr. Carver was in the prayer garden when he realized that five years of dedication on behalf of his daughter were culminating in the passage of the safety bill to protect other families. 

Those of you of faith know that there are no coincidences like this in life . . .    




Photographs    Courtesy of Carol and Ken Carver

Other photographs are available on my Flickr page – Dedication of Prayer Garden Statue – Merrian Carver. All photographs are courtesy of the Carver family.