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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on November 29th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 38 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 38

Angel of Hope Memorial

BY FRANK GONZALES

The Angel of Hope is a statue erected in remembrance of children who have passed away before or after birth. At the base of the statue lie bricks engraved with the names of lost children, which have been donated by loved ones. A memorial will take place on Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. at the Angel of Hope in the Santa Maria Cemetery.

Pastor Paul Berry of Cavalry Chapel Santa Maria will officiate the event in conjunction with his church’s Bereavement Ministry and the Santa Maria Cemetery. The event allows parents to pay tribute to their children—by placing carnations in the arms of the statue—while also getting to meet other parents who have faced similar loss.

The Angel of Hope in Santa Maria is the 70th in a series of statues that were inspired by the book The Christmas Box Angel by Richard Paul Evans. The author created the first of the statues out of bronze in Salt Lake City, Utah, after he received a strong response from grieving parents about a similar statue in the book. After the success of the first statue, the author worked to make it possible for other cities to acquire their own. Santa Maria received its statue on Dec. 3, 2006, after Lori and Danny Macagni, who were also inspired by the book, raised the necessary $15,000. The Macagnis, who lost a son in 1985, had organized the annual memorial until this year, when Glen and Suzanne “Sam” de St. Jean took over after recently losing their own son.

“We also invited churches who are not aware of this memorial that we have,” Suzanne said.

The bricks at the base of the statue cost $100, the proceeds of which pay for the annual memorial, flowers, and keepsake booklets containing each child’s name. Miniature versions of the memorial bricks are also available for parents to take home. A fundraiser is currently underway to donate memorial bricks to parents who cannot afford them.

Local welder Jared Dominguez donated a 7-foot-wide custom barbecue grill for a raffle that will take place on Dec. 2 at 12:30 p.m.

“We are just trying to reach out to the community for additional help, because people have been so generous at the church. We’re half way there. We have to sell 500 tickets and I think we’ve sold 250,” Suzanne said.

Tickets for the grill raffle cost $5 each or $25 for six.

For more information on the memorial and the grill raffle, call Cavalry Chapel Santa Maria at 922-1822.

Intern Frank Gonzales compiled this week’s Community Corner. Send comments or ideas to the Sun via e-mail at intern@santamariasun.com.