Just seven and a half months after breaking ground, organizers for the Angel of Hope in Noblesville’s Forest Park will dedicate the memorial at 3 p.m. May 4.
“This is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done in my life and the most fulfilling,” said Kirk Forbes, memorial organizer.
Forbes said the memorial garden is “to help all parents in our community who have lost children.” The Hamilton County memorial will be the 123rd Angel of Hope in the nation.
“I think it is an opportunity for closure for a lot of people in the community,” Forbes said. “She truly does represent hope for the whole community. Hope to get you through the grief of losing a child. Sometimes all you have is hope to hang your hat on.”
The memorial centers on the Angel of Hope statue, which stands about 7 feet tall. It will be an octagon shape measuring 48 feet across with bricks engraved with children’s names and messages from families and friends radiating out from the angel. Three large flower pots will celebrate the children’s lives. Surrounding the brick memorial will be bushes and trees. The memorial will be illuminated by a lighting system. A 60-foot path will lead from the main park walking path to the memorial.
Forbes said the project was originally priced at $125,000 but the final cost dropped to almost half, courtesy of donations or discounts from a variety of vendors including Gaylor Electric, Daystar Boring and Beaver Materials. From 5 to 8 p.m. May 1, Culver’s in Noblesville will provide a portion of its proceeds to the memorial.
“The community stepped forward and surprised us in a major way,” Forbes said.
Other fundraising efforts included the purchase of several memorial pieces and memorial bricks, which are still being sold for $100. One brick purchased belongs to Jim and Brandi Bates who lost their son, Zander, to an umbilical cord complication during his birth on Aug. 20, 2010.
“I go to the one (Angel of Hope) in Avon to break down sometimes. It’s a neat thing the city has allowed to come to the area. It will be very beneficial for the people of Noblesville and Indianapolis,” Brandi said.
Brandi said infant and child death has been a taboo topic in the past and thinks the memorial will provide support for parents and family members.
“It’s a wonderful place to provide solace and remembrance for parents who lost children,” Brandi said. “It’s a peaceful area for it – kinda secluded and semi shaded.”
“This is a next-level project,” Jim said. “It’s a place where anyone who needs some reflection time can go.”
Don Seal, former Noblesville Parks director and member of the park foundation, said the memorial was something different for the parks system.
“It’s an appropriate use for a public park,” he said. “The more we looked at it, we understood the feeling of how important Forest Park has been for their families. It became obvious this was the place for it to be.”
For more information, call 695-3551 or visit www.angelofhope.info or the Angel of Hope Memorial-Noblesville Indiana Facebook page.