MITCHELL, S.D. – Staff members at The Daily Republic here in Mitchell pay for the opportunity to get comfortable on Fridays, pitching in a $1 each so that they can wear jeans to work. Funds raised from the program, billed as “Jeans for Charity,” then are donated to worthy causes in their community.
Several hundred people recently attended the dedication of Bella’s Butterfly Garden built in Mitchell’s Northridge Park. It honors Bella Morgan who was killed in March 2012 when a drunken driver ran a stop sign in Mitchell and collided with an SUV in which Bella was a passenger.
Jeanie Morgan, Bella’s mom, said at the dedication that the loss of her 9-year-old daughter was a crushing personal blow, but the park named in her honor will be part of her family’s healing.
Daily Republic Business Manager Annette Kroger attended the dedication to take photos of the stone the staff purchased.
“The garden is beautiful and I’m glad we were a part of it,” she wrote in an email to the rest of the staff. “Thanks again to everyone who participates in the ‘Jeans for Charity’ fund on Fridays. We do make a difference!”
Though it wasn’t installed in time for recent dedication, a plaque will be placed at the park that tells Bella’s story and the larger purpose for the memorial.
It will read, in part: “The butterfly reminds us that after a time of transition and pain, there comes beauty, as well as the celebration of life. We hope Bella’s Butterfly Garden will be a symbol of this progress. Please remember to always wear your seat belt and DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.”
The Daily Republic is based in Mitchell, S.D., and is owned by Forum Communications Co., a multimedia information company based in Fargo, N.D. FCC owns dozens of newspapers, websites and television and radio stations, and commercial printing plants in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.