Memories are a powerful tool. Memories of holidays past, and of family and friends make people who they are today.

Each December people gather at the Angel of Hope statue in Lendonwood Gardens to spend time remembering a loved one who has since passed away.

The event, which is now in its 13th year, is held each year on Children's Day, celebrated on Dec. 6, in what is known as the angel garden at Lendonwood Gardens.

The angel garden is accessible at all times, free of charge to the public. The plaza surrounding the angel features an inscribed brick walkway, path lighting, landscaping and benches.

It has been designed by members of the Lendonwood Gardens as a place to find comfort and hope, and a place where people can come to remember loved ones throughout the year.

The placement of the angel at Lendonwood was inspired by the 1993 best-selling novel "The Christmas Box" by Richard Paul Evans. The angel's face is that of a child, with its arms raised, as if waiting to be lifted. On its right wing is inscribed the word "hope."

About the Angel

Mary Conn, along with Gary Smith, Carolyn Williams, Jan Norman and Ed Hamilton, helped bring the angel to Grove.

The group, united by the common fact they had all lost a child, wanted place where people could come and reflect on the memories of their loved ones.

Through a variety of fundraisers and donations, the group raised $25,000 needed to place the statue in Grove.

Grove's angel was dedicated on April 17, 2004. Author Richard Paul Evans was present during that service. The angel in Grove is one of 120 statues found through the United States and overseas. There is one additional Angel of Hope in Oklahoma, at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City.

The first Angel of Hope statue, based on the statue from The Christmas Box novel, was dedicated on Dec. 6, 1994, in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was dedicated on the date of child's death in The Christmas Box.

Lendonwood Gardens is located at 1308 Har-Ber Road, Grove. For more information, persons interested may call 918-786-2938 or visit www.lendonwood.com. Additional information about the Angel of Hope can be found at sww.richardpaulevans.com/angel-statues.