The fateful day of April 27th, 2011 changed the lives of so many in north Alabama. But one family decided to turn their pain into a public memorial.
The finishing touches are being put on Gilwood Park in Monrovia, which pays tribute to all thirteen victims who died in Madison and Limestone counties.
Ken and Cindy Mitchell decided to create the park after losing their daughter, Shannon Sampson, in the killer tornado that hit Harvest. Sampson and the twelve other victims all have a plaque placed in their honor on objects scattered throughout the park. The pavilion, playground, floral arrangements and just about everything else were nearly all donated. Ken Mitchell said the dream of a memorial park would not have been possible without the kindness of churches and strangers.
“It’s been a miracle,” said Mitchell. “God has been in it, I believe it with all my heart and soul…We want the families to be able to come and to look and that and say ‘Hey, they haven’t been forgotten.”
A public dedication for the park will occur on the one-year anniversary next Friday, which will include a memorial service for the victims. The park is located off of Highland Lane in Monrovia.