Children’s Memorial Garden Celebrated for Acts of Excellence

Celebrating Acts of Excellence, One Act at a Time

The Acts of Excellence program connects us with individuals and organizations who are building a culture of excellence in South Dakota, one act at a time.

Please join us and area inductees to celebrate this Act of Excellence on Wednesday, November 28, 2018, from 4:30 to 6 pm at the Suzie Cappa Art Center in Rapid City, South Dakota. See all of the event details here:

Stories of Loss Inspire Children’s Memorial Garden


A Rapid City mother took her suffering over the loss of a child and stories of other grieving families as the inspiration for the Children’s Memorial Garden at the Terra Sancta Retreat Center in the Black Hills near Rapid City. Dionne Eastmo’s youngest son, Jacob, died at age 11 on Easter Sunday of 2017. He was born with severe disabilities, but his mother told the Rapid City Journal he talked with God every day. “He could communicate love and joy through his beautiful smile,’’ she said. “And for those who cared for him, he provided living proof of the profound love of Christ.’’

When Jacob died, the family dedicated memorial funds to create a place to celebrate his life and the lives of other children who have died. Dionne Eastmo’s involvement with a Bible study group for mothers made her acutely aware of how many families shared the experience of having lost a child. Even before Jacob died, Dionne was dreaming of someday creating a place where such families could go to meditate, pray and simply remember their loved ones.

The Children’s Memorial Garden is located near an outdoor Stations of the Cross. A 17-foot-high sculpture titled “Remember the Children’’ was created. All memorial gifts will be recognized there with a permanent hanging metal plate engraved with the child’s name. The Terra Sancta Retreat Center has a Facebook page that invited families to “Enjoy the garden. Water it with your tears. Fertilize it with your memories. And leave with God’s peace and love in your heart.’’

Submit your own Act of Excellence here

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