Georgia teen raises money to buy headstones for babies

WJBF Staff - DALTON, Ga. (WTVC) — Imagine losing a child, and then not being able to afford a headstone for the grave.

In Georgia, a 19-year-old is stepping up to help families whose loved ones are buried in one cemetery.

This is the baby section of West Hill Cemetery in Dalton. As caretaker, Terrell Stallings shows some of these graves aren't even market with a name.

"It's really sad when nobody has put a marker to let everybody know who is there."

This is one of the newest gravesites, baby Gael Alejandro Brito.

"This one was just January the 24th so that was just a couple weeks ago."

Baby Gael's mom, Jessica, said her son died from illnesses including muscular dystrophy at just three months old.

"My favorite was when I got to take care of him on my own."

She says the family is trying to raise the money for a permanent headstone for her baby boy.

That's where Amanda Jones comes in. She grew up volunteering her time to clean up this cemetery. She was always touched by the graves without a permanent memorial. So two weeks ago she started a fund to raise the money needed.

Since then, more than $3,000 has been donated.

Jones said, "I've never really thought about the impact it would have on the families and I can't imagine how amazing it must feel to finally have the recognition that their children deserve."

The headstones will be made here at D&S Monuments. Owner Mark Howard talks about the process. Employees are volunteering their time to help with this project.

How much love is going into each marker?

Howard said, "A lot. A lot. It touches my heart. Going to that cemetery is one of the saddest places to have to go … to see all the babies that didn't live."

To Jessica, this project means the world and will help everyone who comes here know this is where baby Gael is buried.

"I miss him so much and that I love him."

Those who wish to donate, can send a check to Infants Gravestone Fund, City of Dalton, 300 W. Waugh St., Dalton, GA 30721.

Each gravestone costs about $65.

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