FLORENCE, Ala. — It’s been one year since the capital murder of three-year-old Kaiden Garner.
A life gone too soon but certainly not forgotten. In Kaiden’s grandparents’ home, toys can still be found in the den where he played. In the kitchen, his backpack and jacket continue to hang on a doorknob.
Although the events surrounding Kaiden’s death are tragic, the Shoals community took it as an opportunity to come together.
Through the loss, Kaiden’s grandfather Leslie launched the Kaiden Garner Project as a way to raise child abuse awareness and prevention.
Florence District 1 Councilwoman Kaytrina Simmons serves on the board and said community is a blessing but can grow even stronger.
“They certainly came together at the walkathon and it certainly came together during the time of the event, but we don’t need them to come together just when that happens, we need them to come together and to remain together,” Simmons said.
Simmons added that the family understandably continues to grieve.
“It is still very disheartening and I think the family—they’ll never really have justice because they lost a child, a grandchild, but it’ll always be a part of them as to what happened; nobody can block such a thing out of their minds,” Simmons said.
Simmons said for the family, the support system they have in The Shoals is making all the difference.
“The Kaiden Garner Project foundation, we have certainly thrown our arms around them and our arms remain still around them and we’re always there for them,” Simmons said. “I know myself personally, anytime they call upon me, I’m there.”
Donations to the Kaiden Garner Project can be made at any First Metro Bank location. Funds are used to continue the group’s child abuse awareness and prevention efforts.