PALMYRA, Mo. -- After eight years of effort, Tori Greving is finally seeing some results from her campaign to build an Angel of Hope memorial garden in Palmyra's Flower City Park.
The garden will serve as a tribute to local children who have died throughout the years.
In December, volunteers using heavy equipment installed the three-piece granite base that will be topped this spring with a 4 1/2-foot-high bronze statue of an angel. The completed monument will then serve as the centerpiece for the garden.
Also this spring, Greving said, volunteers will install an octagon-shaped brick walkway around the monument along with a series of memorial benches and flowering plants. A small fountain will be incorporated into the monument.
Once the garden is ready, a dedication ceremony will be held. Greving said supporters who have already bought more than 25 commemorative bricks honoring lost loved ones will be invited to help install their bricks in the walkway.
Once all of this is completed, the garden will begin serving as a place of healing and peace where families and friends can gather to remember and celebrate the children who have passed away.
"To me it brings peace, hope, tranquility," Greving said.
Greving knows what it's like to lose a child. In October 2004, she lost a stillborn daughter with less than a month to go in her pregnancy. The baby, named Madelynn Sue, would have turned 13 in October.
Shortly after losing Maddy, Greving heard about an Angel of Hope memorial garden in the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles. Her family laid a memorial brick there for Maddy that fall, and they attended a candlelight vigil there the following December.
The candlelight vigils -- held every Dec. 6 at Angel of Hope gardens at more than 120 locations across the country -- have become an annual event for Greving and her family.
Greving found so much comfort from the Angel of Hope garden in St. Charles that she decided to lead an effort to build one in Palmyra, her hometown.
"With the loss that we had in 2004, it was the first time that I didn't feel like I was the only one who had gone through what we went though," Greving said. "I know the benefits. I just can't wait to be able to share that" at Palmyra's Angel of Hope garden.
Greving, a nurse practitioner at Hannibal Regional Hospital, started working on the garden project in 2010. The Palmyra Parks and Recreation Department donated the land for the garden in a quiet clearing in the northwest corner of Flower City Park.
Then Greving stated holding a series of fundraisers to generate enough money to commission an Angel of Hope statue, which alone cost $14,500. The statue is already completed and is in storage in Quincy.
Money also would be needed to build the base, brick walkway, the water fountain, benches and other aspects of the project.
Greving has already raised close to $35,000 -- enough to get all of the pieces needed to assemble the monument and the layout.
"I just didn't think it would take this long," Greving said.
Volunteers did some groundwork last fall to prepare the site. Then other volunteers stepped forward in mid-December to install the monument's base.
"We definitely plan on finishing it in the spring," she said.
Greving said if anyone wants to take part in the initial ceremony involving the first batch of commemorative bricks, they need to order bricks by the end of January. Orders, costing $125 each, can be placed through the angelofhopepalmyra.org web site.
Greving said she plans to hold future brick-laying ceremonies each fall and spring, and candlelight vigils will be held at the site each Dec. 6 starting this year.
"I'm just very excited that we're this close," Greving said.