Memorial to honor children
Melissa Cason, Franklin County Times
The Franklin County Domestic Violence Response Coalition announced plans to create two memorials in the county in honor of children who died as a result of child abuse.
The Coalition will place a fountain memorial at the new Red Bay Police Department in memory of baby Chance Waldrop, who was killed by his father at the age of 23 days old in 2005.
In addition to the Waldrop memorial, the Coalition will enclose a memorial purchased by the Franklin County Sheriff's Department in memory of Andrea Gonzalez, who was presumed dead after being reported missing by her father, Paul Gonzalez, at 5-years-old in 1993.
According to officials, Paul Gonzalez was convicted of manslaughter in the case, and his wife, Kim Gonzalez, plead guilty to a lesser offense for her part. Even though the case is now closed. Andrea's body has never been recovered.
The Coalition would like to encircle the Gonzalez memorial at the Franklin County Mike Green Center with bricks and with benches.
"These bricks are to pay tribute to Andrea, whose body was never recovered," Coalition Co-Chair David Hester said. "There will always be questions in this case that cannot be answered except by the ones that were with her when she died."
In order to fund these two projects, the Coalition is now accepting donations from individuals, and any other organization that would like to give.
In return for a monetary donation of $35, the Coalition will engrave a brick for the memorials in memory or in honor of someone special. They do not have to be victims of child abuse but victims are welcome as well.
"This is a great way to commemorate victims of domestic violence," Hester said.
The cost includes the brick and up to three lines may be inscribed in the bricks with the maximum of 15 letters per line.
The bricks will be placed at both memorials.
The first brick for the Waldrop memorial has already been sold. The Red Bay Police Department purchased the first brick in memory of the slain infant.
"It is my privilege and honor to purchase the first brick in memory of Chance Waldrop," Red Bay Police Chief Pat Creel said.
The Coalition will present both memorials to the public during the last week in October as their program for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
"Abuse has no age limit," Hester said. "Even though we may not know these victims, the next time it may be someone you know because domestic violence is everybody's problem."
Bricks can be purchased from now until the end of October by contacting the following Coalition members: The Red Bay Police Department at 356-4455; The Franklin County Sheriff's Department at 332-8811 and Tamela Odem at 331-5915.