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Haysville To Build Angel Of Hope Memorial In New City Park

Courtesy of richardpaulevans.com

Haysville’s Dorner Park is expected to build the first Angel of Hope Memorial in Kansas.

The four-foot memorials, first commissioned in 1994, are intended to provide a quiet place of reflection for parents who have lost a child. They can also be used as an area of comfort for anyone experiencing grief.

The Haysville City Council recently approved an agreement to lease land in the park for the memorial. The memorial was proposed by Stacy Carmine, a Haysville resident who lost a son at birth.

Carmine said she began working on the project in September, her son's birth month.

“His birthdays — I can’t say they get any easier," Carmine said. "When my children were younger, I was more preoccupied and didn’t have to think about it. Now my youngest is 17, so it makes that void somewhat bigger.”

Ginger Cullen, community relations director for the city of Haysville, said the Angel of Hope will be a place of comfort for everyone.

“Even if you’ve never lost a child yourself, the Angel of Hope Memorial is a place where you can go and grieve for your mother, or a dear friend, or a sister,” Cullen said. “It’s just a place of peace and comfort, and something that the world needs more of, if you ask me.”

Today, there are 145 Angels of Hope in the United States and one each in Japan and Canada. They are modeled after the angel statue in "The Christmas Box," a best-selling novel by Richard Paul Evans.

Before Haysville can move forward with the memorial, Carmine and others must privately raise at least half of the $20,000 cost for the project.

Fundraising for the memorial is underway as 70-acre Dorner Park takes shape. So far, soccer fields and irrigation systems have been installed. The park is expected to be nearly complete by summer. The memorial will sit on a hilltop.

Cullen said the city hopes to have the memorial completed by the holidays next year. If that happens, she would like to hold a ribbon-cutting and candelight vigil on Dec. 6, the day the first angel was dedicated in 1994.

“So many people are going to benefit from this angel — I don’t think it’s going to be just me," Carmine said. "I’ve had so many other women who have reached out to me. And not just women. Fathers, too.

“It’s a place where people will be able to connect with someone who knows ... what that pain is.”

Andrew Linnabary is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.