Guest column: Marco Island and the Christmas Box Angel

Keith Dameron
Chairman, Christmas Box Angel Committee, Collier County
File: Sloan Wheeler sings to open a Marco Island Christmas Box Angel Memorial Service, commemorating children and grandchildren who have died.

This is a special message for all parents and grandparents who have lost a child.

Isn’t it always exciting to discover wonderful new things right in our own backyards? Such is the case with Marco Island’s Christmas Box Angel sculpture, one of only seven in Florida with the closest Angel located 147 miles away in Tampa.

But wait, I don’t want to get ahead of myself or, more importantly, the story of our own Angel. Introduced to the world in the best-selling book “The Christmas Box,” by Richard Paul Evans, a beautiful story of a couple whose only child dies and they have an angel statue set at a place to go to remember their lost child. The story was so moving that in 1995, Hallmark television made the book into a movie starring Maureen O’Hare and Richard Thomas. 

Parents and grandparents responded so overwhelmingly to the book and movie seeking the location of the fictitious Angel, the author commissioned the construction of a real angel sculpture matching the description in The Christmas Box story. So, began a movement exclusive to those in need of someplace to grieve the loss of a child or grandchild of any age.

Since the first Christmas Box Angel was dedicated in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1994, over 135 Angels have been created then placed in special locations under the strict supervision of the authors Utah headquarters. The December 6th ceremony provides parents and grandparents the opportunity to sit down quietly to remember their child, celebrate their life and provide comfort and a way to endure the Christmas season.

Marco Island’s Christmas Box Angel was dedicated Dec. 6, 2000, thanks to an outstanding fund raising effort by many Islanders to purchase and bring the Angel to her home atop a five-foot-tall marble base in the Marco Island cemetery. The next 6 p.m. ceremony will mark the 20th Christmas Box Angel service with a brief program of remembrance, sharing and grace. Candles and white carnations will be provided to everyone as part of the Angel program.

The time has arrived to share this wonderful story and ceremony with all Collier County parents and grandparents who have one important thing in common. the loss of a child or grandchild.

For those who attend each year, you are invited to be with us once again and for those who have never experienced this wonderful event honoring our lost children, join us at the Marco Island Cemetery, Dec. 6, arriving by 5:45 p.m. for the 6 p.m. ceremony to meet and share your stories with others who truly understand and care.