No Man is an Island: Faraz Khodabandeh Remembered

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No Man is an Island: Faraz Khodabandeh Remembered


By Erik Brinkman

We gathered en mass on November 19th 2013 at East and West parallel memorials, to celebrate the life of Faraz Khodabandeh. Hundreds of souls who had been touched by the inimitable energy of a rare modern renaissance man shared stories, photos and memories. This knee-buckling slideshow, Faraz Khodabandeh 1984-2013, made up of a mosaic of photos and quotes submitted by his innumerable friends and loving family was viewed at the events. Man, was he ever photogenic.  

Earlier that day his family and close friends laid his body to rest at York Cemetery in his home town of Toronto. Faraz was buried with his planting shovel, the same shovel he had planted his one millionth tree with just over a week before he was killed by a motorist while crossing highway I-70 on foot in Missouri on November 10th 2013.

Faraz worked on a great number of our projects in various provinces; in a seemingly short time he transformed from a young wild card planter's planter, into an integral asset to any field team that he was part of. As a Foreman he was paternally protective of his crew, sacrificing himself to ensure that they were always provided for, and as a prolific First Aid Responder he was composed, vigilant and methodical in his care for the safety and wellbeing of the whole crew. But it is the unforgettable character and friend who fully engaged with, fought for and believed in, the people of the planting community across Canada, who will be wrenchingly missed. A bold, immovable and honorable man, always brimming with passion and mischief, we have lost a true forest warrior. The one and only Faraz..

The Faraz Memorial Fund at the Cumberland Community Forest Society continues to accept donations to preserve his memory in the form of a forest covenant. The Comox Valley Echo published an article entitled Immortalized in the Trees to inform the public of this legendary forest champion, honouring his memory by encouraging support for the Faraz Fund. Faraz’s sister Poupak Khodabandeh has graciously put up the Faraz Memorial Facebook page to continue to share memories.

This excerpt from a letter Faraz wrote to his friends in Spring 2013 poignantly captures his sensitivity and the essence of what it is to be a tree planter:

"We share a connection. A connection that is manifest in the extremely short time it requires for us to become comfortable with one another when we first meet as otherwise complete strangers. It’s a trust that cannot be easily described in words and harder still to be understood by those who have never spent time in our culture. Nonetheless it is one founded in the fact that there are specific qualities in a person’s character that both attract them to, and keep them in, the planting world.”  

Faraz planted 1,001,982 trees. Dirk had his comemorative millioniare shovel made and sent to his family for the memorial. Here is an excerpt from a thank you letter from Faraz's mother, Flora Nadafi, to Dirk and Brinkman,"The one million tree shovel that Judi delivered to us with the special message from you is now placed in its deserved spot in my apartment on the mantel."  

Faraz's network is spread across the globe, so please share this notice with all who knew him. 

Our friend Faraz will be dearly missed and always remembered.