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The story behind this heart is one of determination and serendipity but also one of pain, resilience, and suffering. Omaha artist Jane Langenfeld, who teaches art at Mercy High School, created the heart, part of the Nebraska by Heart project.

COURTESY PHOTO

The story behind this heart is one of determination and serendipity but also one of pain, resilience, and suffering. The paths we cross can change the trajectory of one’s life in an instant, with effects being felt for years to come.

Artist Jane Langenfeld created this heart for the Nebraska by Heart project because of her belief that “people come into one’s life for a reason, even if only for a season.” An art teacher at Mercy High School, Langenfeld teaches students every day her love of art while absorbing all of the lessons they give to her. Crossing paths can lead to love, to learning, to laughs, and sometimes death. However, each new path we cross changes us.

The past 6 years have demonstrated this to patron Jaimi Calfee, founder of the alexis Project (taP), who lost her daughter, Alexis, when she and her boyfriend, Chris Oberg, crossed paths with a drunk driver Sept. 9, 2011.

Jaimi and her husband, Todd, started the alexis Project (taP), and made it their mission to cross paths with as many people as possible and convince them that being a designated driver is heroic.

In the hopes of saving those they cross paths with the same pain, the couple frequently speak at schools, organizations and victim panels, reliving the worst day of their lives. They also regularly put on fundraisers to give back to their community in her memory.

Through a tragic crossing they have created positive paths for others, making contributions in taP’s name. A crossed path with the alexis Project can, and has, prevented more tragedies on the road. For these reasons the proposal of When Paths Cross spoke to Jaimi and they sponsored the heart not only to honor Alexis and Chris, but also as a reminder to others to make choices on a daily basis that positively impact those that cross your path.

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