THOMASVILLE — The rain washed away the planned Camp HEAL but it didn’t dampen the anticipation for Jerger Elementary School students Friday afternoon at the adjacent Garden Center.

Kids, many of them classmates of the late Harrison Hooks, gleefully let butterflies land on their fingers and hands and then released the delicate creatures to the wind Friday afternoon.

“The children have really loved it,” said Sheri Walters, administrator for Hospice of Southwest Georgia. “We’re glad to be able to share with the second graders at Jerger.”

Camp HEAL is a bereavement day camp for children who have recently lost a loved on. The anticipated weather for Saturday led Hospice of Southwest Georgia to cancel the annual event, and the butterfly release was planned for then.

David Cook, chaplain of Hospice of Southwest Georgia, came up with the idea of bringing the kids next door to the Garden Center to meet and release the butterflies.

Deren Hooks, Harrison’s mother, was on hand to help the Jerger students with the butterflies.

“It’s just such an honor,” she said. “We’re just honored to be here and to celebrate and to just know that God’s with these kids. Jerger is a great place and a great school, and Harrison loved it.’

Walters said Hospice of Southwest Georgia hopes to reschedule Camp HEAL for the spring.

“Kids have a unique way of dealing with things, different than adults, too,” she said. “Camp HEAL brings those children together with other kids who have gone through a loss. It’s a time to relax and be with others.”

Editor Pat Donahue can be reached at (229) 226-2400 ext. 1806.

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