The death of a child is a loss so unfathomable that no one who has not experienced it can possibly comprehend it. "You don't move on," one mother told me. "You just keep living. Because you have no other choice."
The grief never ends. It only evolves. But beautiful things come from our brokenness.
The families of Danielle Downs, Loryn Brown, and Will Stevens will never stop grieving their loss. But the one thing that helps lift them up through that pain is helping someone else. Which is why these memorial funds are so important. Every donation matters, not only because of the funds but because the family is reminded that someone remembered their child and cared enough to help.
Danielle Downs Memorial Fund
Air Force Aid Society
Danielle and her sister, Michelle, grew up moving around with their Air Force parents, and watched their father deployed during Desert Storm. Days from graduating at the University of Alabama with a degree in social work, Danielle wanted to counsel military families through the transition of deployment, and aimed to find a job doing so at Eglin Air Force Base in Shalimar, Florida. A memorial fund in her honor has been created at the Air Force Aid Society, the official charity of the U.S. Air Force, created in 1942 to help Air Force families in financial distress and assist them in paying for higher education. Through this fund, she will continue helping others.
Loryn Brown Endowed Memorial Scholarship
University of Alabama Alumni Association
The oldest of four siblings, Loryn loved barrel racing, Beyonce, and cowboy boots. (This photo was taken after Easter services in 2011, four days before she died.) After finishing her associate's degree at Shelton State Community College, she was transferring to the University of Alabama, where she planned to study Communications and chase her dream of becoming an ESPN sports broadcaster. Her father, Shannon Brown, was a football player for the Crimson Tide. Her scholarship will help students enrolling at the University of Alabama, and her mother, Ashley Mims, personally chooses the recipients.
Will Stevens Memorial Scholarship
Will was an all-around talented athlete: quarterback, pitcher, and basketball player at Priceville High School. His pitching arm earned him a baseball scholarship to Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, where he was known as "Mr. Quiet Optimism." He was also a gentleman who fixed Danielle's car and would only accept payment in the form of pizza and laundry rights. Will called his mother every day when she got off work and made his father and little sister, Taylor, very proud. His family hosts a town-wide yard sale and a car show every spring to raise money for his scholarship, which is given each year to a local male and female athlete with financial need.
Donate to Will's fund
Please make checks payable to:
Will Stevens Scholarship Foundation
Mail to P.O. Box 128, Somerville, AL 35670