MOLINE -- A groundbreaking was held Friday at Moline Memorial Park for a memorial garden and angel statue for parents who have experienced the death of a child.|
Most of those present were members of the Quad-Cities area chapter of the Compassionate Friends, a support group for families whose children have died. The new memorial garden is north of the mausoleum buildings at 5001 34th Ave., Moline.
It will include a 4-foot-3-inch bronze angel looking toward the sky with arms open. The statue, an exact replica of the original statue in Salt Lake City, will be in a 20-by-20-foot garden with inlaid memorial bricks, a walkway, decorative plants and four benches.
Though the statue has not yet been purchased, landscaping work on the garden began Thursday and is expected to be completed in two weeks, weather permitting.
The Quad City Angel of Hope Committee has raised about $21,000 to build the approximately $46,000 memorial, according to Lisa Rains, a member of Compassionate Friends.
It hopes to raise the remaining $25,000 by selling two sizes of memorial bricks for $100 and $200, which includes three lines of engraving. Bench dedications are available for $2,500, and the group also is seeking grants and donations.
According to richardpaulevans.com/angel-statues, the statue was first mentioned in the book, "The Christmas Box," by Richard Paul Evans. In the book, a woman grieves the loss of her child at the base of an angel statue.
Mr. Evans later commissioned a statue after grieving parents sought it out to cope with the death of their child.
Since the first angel was commissioned, more than 120 Angel of Hope statues have been erected worldwide.
Ms. Rains heard about the Angel of Hope statue after two of her children died in separate incidents. She has been working with the Compassionate Friends on the project since 2012.
"It's overwhelming to finally get started," Ms. Rains said. "It was a long road, well worth it.
"I just wanted to bring comfort to the community and for people around here who haven't had a chance to bury their child or couldn't bury their child, or had to move away from their child," Ms. Rains said.
For more information on buying a memorial brick or bench or to make a donation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Doug Scott at 563-370-1041.