Memorial Day Flower Girl

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A Jessamine County teen had hoped to raise $1,400 to place some 5,000 carnations of the graves of forgotten soldiers on Memorial Day.
But when the girl woke up on Saturday morning, she was still only halfway to her goal.

14 year old Marina Hillis kind of grew up around a beautiful backyard memorial to her uncle, who was killed in a work related accident, and that definitely had something to do with inspiring her Memorial Day mission.

Marina says, "He was gone and it just made an impact on me because I was really close to him. He was like my best friend yet my uncle. It does relate because although he was never in the military, it's just the feeling of losing somebody and knowing that he's never coming back."

Marina's grandmother, Sherry Lowry tells 27 NEWSFIRST, "She's carrying that attitude over with the veterans in that she feels like anyone, not just our own loved ones but all people should be remembered, especially the veterans that did so much for us."

Motivation for Maria's plan also came from a TV show about a little girl whose pen pal in the military was killed. Sherry Lowry remembers, "About a week later, Marina came to me and asked if there was anything she could do or any place nearby where she could honor soldiers. That's when I told her about Camp Nelson."

Marina ran out of flowers before she reached all the graves she wanted to last year at Camp Nelson so this year she's been trying to raise enough money for 2,000 more carnations. She says, "I've set up booths and passed out fliers. At Freedom Funfest, I had a booth where I sold crafts. It's gonna happen whether I have to pay for it out of my own pocket or out of my grandparents' pockets. It will happen. I found out this was my lifetime task that I am going to complete every year."

Wars have been won with that kind of determination. If you'd like to donate to Marina's cause, call 859-881-0111.

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