May 5 will mark the 20th anniversary of the slayings of three Arkansas children in what would come to be known internationally as the West Memphis Three case. The “three” refers to the defendants convicted — wrongly many now agree — in the slayings of three eight-year-olds, Steve Branch, Chris Byers and Michael Moore.
There’s a memorial to the victims at their school, Weaver Elementary in West Memphis. The principal there, Sheila Grissom, is trying to raise money to refurbish the memorial. She writes:
The memorial is called “The Weaver Reading Grove.” It was constructed in 1994 on the playground of Weaver Elementary. It consists of a gazebo, benches and a memorial stone honoring the boys.
Sheila Grissom, principal of Weaver Elementary, has set up a fund to pay for landscaping around the gazebo. Plans are under way to build a flower bed, which will hold 20 yellow rose bushes to mark the 20th anniversary of their deaths. The estimated cost is $2,800 and will be done by TC Landscaping in conjunction with O’Neal Landscaping of West Memphis. $500 has been collected from donors so far. If additional funds over and above $2,800 are collected, the money will be used for future Weaver Reading Grove and playground maintenance.
In addition, West Memphis Realtors Michael and Lesia Ford with Coldwell Banker Heritage Homes are organizing and funding an effort to repaint the gazebo in brighter colors, repair some damaged benches, add trash receptacles and cover exposed nails in the ceiling. Organizers are hopeful the landscaping and refurbishing will be funded and complete by May 5.
If you would like to make a donation in memory of Michael, Chris and Steve to the Weaver Elementary Reading Grove/Playground Fund, please send your donation to the school at the following address:
Weaver Elementary Reading Grove/Playground Fund
1280 East Barton Ave.
West Memphis, AR 72301
For more information contact Sheila Grissom, Weaver Elementary School principal, at email@example.com or 870-735-7670.