Gage Bell is just 15 months old. He wears a red, white and blue ribbon with a photo of his father, First Sergeant Russell R. Bell, who was killed while serving his country in Afghanistan. First Sergeant Bell’s East Texas family cherishes the Children’s Park; a place that serves as a safe haven, brought to Tyler by a woman who lost a child of her own.
“Specifically, for families who have lost a child, to see their names etched along the stone, or to hear it spoken out loud, or maybe even to have it on a bronze plaque beneath the tree. It just says to that family that this child has not been forgotten,” said Jennifer Carson, President of the Children’s Park of Tyler.
Knowing expansion plans are underway for the Children’s Park, the Bell family made a request. “We were talking about phase two and they came up with doing a flagpole in memory of Russell, and everybody thinks it’s a great idea,” Carson said. So great that the East Texas Communities Fund presented the family with a check to help with the cost of the project. “It means a lot to us just that Russell’s memory will live on as being you know, a hero and also serving his country and being an awesome father and a great husband,” said Latoya Bell, First Sgt. Bell’s wife. Carson reminds East Texas the park is a place for both joy and sorrow.
“It’s not just a park about children that have died. It’s about life and it’s about celebrating the lives of all children. Sometimes those lives are cut short though,” Carson said. Lives that with the help of this park, the community will never forget.
Donations to the Children’s Park are accepted online by clicking here. If you would like to make a special donation to the building of First Sargeant Bell’s flagpole, you can send a check made out to the “The Children’s Park” at 5380 Old Bullard Rd, Suite 600-122, Tyler, TX 75703. Make sure to note you would like your donation to go to that particular project. If you have further questions, you can contact the Children’s Park of Tyler at 903-939-1597.
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