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Comcast, Jonesboro restore memorial to babies

Jonesboro youths Isaac Washington (left), 7, and Ashard Whitacker, 9, admire some of the work they did to clean up the city’s memorial rose garden as part of Comcast Cares Day Saturday. Washington’s mother, Lynette Washington, is a Comcast employee.

Jonesboro youths Isaac Washington (left), 7, and Ashard Whitacker, 9, admire some of the work they did to clean up the city’s memorial rose garden as part of Comcast Cares Day Saturday. Washington’s mother, Lynette Washington, is a Comcast employee.

— Twenty-five Comcast Cable employees and Jonesboro residents came together Saturday to restore a place where stillborn babies are remembered.

The volunteers pulled weeds and replaced dying rose bushes at the Jonesboro Memorial Rose Garden as part of the nationwide Comcast Cares Day. For years, Pope Dixon Funeral Home owner Ab Dixon ran the garden where stillborn babies could be laid to rest but it fell into disrepair before he donated it to the city last year.

In response to its downtrodden state, the city decided to use Comcast’s annual community service day as an opportunity to kick-start efforts to restore and improve the garden. Because of its history, Comcast Joint-Use liaison Deborah Collins said the garden clean-up project was an extra important task.

“It means a lot to us to be allowed to participate in such an important project,” Collins said. “When you look at some of the markers here, it adds such a sense of history and we’re proud to be able to touch the community in such a special way, at such a special place.”

photo

Curt Yeomans

Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day (left) and Councilwoman Pat Sebo check on a rose bush at the city’s memorial rose garden Saturday. The city partnered with Comcast Cable to spruce up the garden as part of Comcast Cares Day.

The rose garden restoration was one of three Comcast Cares projects completed in the Jonesboro area this weekend. Collins said another 40 volunteers planted new flowers and created a butterfly garden at Lee Street Elementary School. An additional 50 volunteers cleaned up trails at Clayton County International Park, she said.

But the rose garden, with its purpose as a final resting place for babies who didn’t get to enjoy life, is the project that touched several volunteers most.

“It just warms my heart that I can contribute to the beauty of this place for the families who come to visit,” said Comcast Customer Service Specialist Lynette Washington. “I know if I was in their shoes, it would mean a lot to me to have someone do this.”

Councilwoman Pat Sebo said the city wanted to restore the memorial for the families who continue to visit and remember the children they lost.

“It was in dire need of love and care and attention, and because it meant so much to the families, we just wanted to make sure they continue to have a tranquil place to visit,” Sebo said.

Mayor Joy Day said the city has plans to further restore the garden in the future. A fountain at the center of the memorial will be restored and turned back on, and benches will be added so parents whose children were buried at the site will have a place to sit, she said.

The city will also do some long-term planning to come up with ways to continue improving the memorial in the future.

“It will be a really great place for the families to visit once we get done with everything we have planned,” Day said.