Field of Joy honors departed loved ones in Fulton

8 months 3 days 7 hours ago Sunday, December 08 2019 Dec 8, 2019 Sunday, December 08, 2019 2:13:00 PM CST December 08, 2019 in News
By: Peyton Headlee and Sara Moyers, KOMU 8 Reporters
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FULTON — Community members can gather at the Field of Joy in Fulton’s Veteran's Park to remember departed loved ones during the holidays.

Fulton Parks and Recreation paired up with the Callaway County Salvation Army to organize this event, with money raised going to the Salvation Army. Families, businesses and non-profits had the opportunity to pay for a space to decorate a tree. 

101 trees are displayed to honor loved ones who have died and to promote local businesses.

Grace Stukenborg came to Veteran’s Park on Sunday to check up on her tree. She has visited the Field of Joy throughout the years, but it is her first time participating in the annual event. 

“Every year there are more and more so, it is cool to watch it grow every year,” Stukenborg said. 

Stukenborg participated on behalf of the Callaway County Singers. Other community members, like Ladaynea Spencer, decorated a tree to remember a loved one.  

“I’ve wanted to do the memorial tree every year, but it's hard to focus being grief stricken,” Spencer said. “I missed it the first few years after his passing.”

Spencer’s only son, 6-year-old Dayne Hathman, was shot and killed five years ago. She chose to decorate her tree in a special way.

“I chose Elmo because my son had Down Syndrome and Elmo was one of the first characters he could recognize,” Spencer said. “Elmo has sort of unofficially become the icon we use to remember Dayne.”

The Field of Joy offered an opportunity for community members to come together and celebrate. 

“I think it shows how much the community really enjoys having the chance to be a part of the Christmas season and to show their support of the community by having their trees here,” Stuckenborg said. 

The trees will remain on display until New Year's Day.  

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