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Children's Memorial Service Held in Mankato

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Moving now to local headlines, It's been 10 years since a children's memorial was dedicated at Ray Erlandson Park in Mankato.

Today, friends and loved ones gathered for a service sponsored by One Bright Star.

The organization's mission is to honor children who have died.

Tom Karels lost his son Bill back in 1990.

Karels says, "He was playing with his friends in a drainage ditch and they had life jackets, tubes and everything safe. But one time he went over a little dam and didn't come back. We searched for him overnight and finally found him the next morning."

Now, Tom comes to the children's memorial in Mankato to help remember his son and help heel his grief with others.

Karels says, "It's what we like to do. We like to talk about it but it's still tough. We want people to not be afraid to talk to us."

Each year, the One Bright Star imitative holds a small ceremony to remember those lost loved ones by adding approximately 6–10 names, far too many, to the memorial.

Cassi Wanous says, "This is somewhere that they can come every year and we have a service they can just walk through and see all the plaques and pavers and know that they're not alone in the grieving process and we want them to just have a special time, a special day at least once a year if not more that they can honor and remember their child."

One Bright Star also offers resources to the families to help them through the grieving process.

Jenifer O'Donnell says, "I think it's just most important that the death of a child does happen regularly and we need to make sure we're not excluding those individuals because their life continues on but they don't ever want to forget the memory of their child."

The memory of those like Bill Karels, who leave behind so many family and friends, like Tom, who come to the memorial to seek comfort.

Wanous says, "When you lose a child you're not alone."