‘The birthday party she never had’: Somerset girl and volunteers decorate child graves

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 5:43 PM EDT
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SOMEREST, Ky. (WYMT) - Several months ago, 12 year-old Gracie Honeycutt started to raise money to decorate the graves of children 12 and younger.

The inspiration behind the project was the grave of Virginia Abbott who died before her first birthday.

The grave caught Honeycutt’s eye when she was just five years old.

“I was like mom I’m not leaving until we decorate this stone and we’ve been decorating it ever sense," said Honeycutt.

She always decorates Abbott’s grave on Memorial Day, but his year Gracie wanted to take it a step further and decorate all the graves of children 12 and younger in Somerset Cemetery with a pinwheel.

“Kinda like a birthday present. It’s kind of like a kids toy so I just thought it would be nice to do something different," said Honeycutt.

A group of volunteers came on Friday, in honor of Abbott’s birthday. She would have been 109.

“I think it’s one of the most incredible things I’ve seen in 50 years of my life for a kid like that to do something like this," said Brian Gurley, the cemetery maintenance supervisor.

The volunteers walked the cemetery, decorating nearly 600 graves.

“I love to see kids that have initiative and just the courage to go after something and meet needs that are around them," said Britani Shoemaker, Honeycutt’s dance teacher and a volunteer.

The goal behind the project was to honor the graves that have long been forgotten.

“I think it definitely makes you grateful for everyday that you’re given and is encouragement to make sure the days you have count," said Shoemaker.

Cemetery Manager Tricia Neal says many of the graves are from the early 1900′s and the families have moved on and they are forgotten.

“It’s good to see them getting a little attention. I’m sure they’re smiling down from a cloud somewhere," said Neal.

Honeycutt said she just wanted to give Abbott the birthday party she never had.

“My heart goes out to them. I don’t know how to put it into words but just I connect with them in some way," said Honeycutt.

Honeycutt’s goal was to raise $500 for the project. She ended up raising more than $1,600.

“It amazing. It’s just nice to know that the community cares so much about what I’m doing and that they want to honor these children and it means a lot to me and I’m sure it does to just anyone who’s lost a child," said Honeycutt.

Honeycutt plans to make this a yearly tradition. She wants to also decorate all the children’s graves with flowers on Memorial Day.

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