It was an emotional day for many throughout the Elsberry Community and R-II School District as they gathered along side the High School Gym to celebrate and remember Jillian Young, who would have turned 18-years-old on Friday, Sept. 6.
In an effort to keep her memory alive, her mother Kim Lovelace-Young, her brother Bo Young, her father Will Young and several other supporters decided to plant a tree with a memorial plaque right outside the doors.
“I got a lot of good feedback from the kids who all said they enjoyed the ceremony,” said Lovelace-Young. “When you’ve lost a child, when you’ve lost someone like Jillian, you wanna do anything and everything to keep her memory alive.”
Lovelace-Young said all she can do is continue to honor her memory, whether it be through the foundation, which will soon be a 501(c)3 organization or by just continuing to do good things, which is what she believes Jillian would have wanted.
“This really is what the rest of my life is going to be about,” explained Lovelace-Young. “Keeping this fund going and watching the kids in her class continue to grow. I mean I’ve watched these kids, I’ve changed a lot of there diapers and will always hold Jillian and these kids close to my heart.”
According to Lovelace-Young, the tree that was planted will get rather larger and a memoriam was given to the Elsberry FFA to maintain and care for the tree. Towards the end of the ceremony, following two poems read by her father, the class of 2014 took small glasses of water and one by one began watering the tree.
While many had tears in their eyes remembering all the good times they had with Jillian, others simply shut their eyes and prayed.
“I want to encourage their success,” said Lovelace-Young. “It’s important that we keep Jillian’s memory alive and not that her 17-years didn’t mean anything, because they certainly did, they were the happiest 17-years of my life and she impacted so many people.”
Lovelace-Young said going forward and through the great support of the community, family and friends, they will be able to provide two scholarships to students for college. According to her, Jillian was worried that some kids may not be able to attend college.
“She was just that kind of person,” said Lovelace-Young. “She knew not everyone was fortunate, but now, through her, we will be able to help the success of so many. She will be missed but she will never be forgot.”
Happy Birthday Jillian Young.
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