TROY — Family members, friends and those associated with the Lincoln Community Center gathered Friday to dedicate a red sunset maple tree to sisters Dionanna Alexander-Bishop and Dejah Alexander-Bishop and their cousin Jakia Jones, who tragically passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning on Feb. 27 and March 1.
Lincoln Community Center Executive Director Shane Carter said Gail Peterson of Upper Valley Medical Center contacted him about doing something in the girls’ memory, and they had thrown around ideas for what would work when a garden came to them.
“What better than a memorial garden to honor the girls?” he said. “We decided to plant the tree and put a bench in the courtyard in their honor, to forever symbolize them.”
He asked the girls’ grandmother, Jean Bishop, for permission to create a memorial and what she thought would be acceptable. Carter said she agreed to a memorial garden.
At the dedication, Carter began by acknowledging Bishop, her son Leon and grandson Jahari Ward, who survived the carbon monoxide poisoning as representatives of the girls and the ones who would keep their memory alive.
He also thanked UVMC for making the tree and bench possible through donations from the UVMC employees and Future Leaders group.
UVMC President and CEO Becky Rice spoke about the work UVMC employees did to help the children and Bishop once they arrived at the hospital. She said over 90 caregivers, physicians and nurses worked with the family and they were honored and blessed to be able to play a role in the tribute for the girls.
After the dedication, Bishop described her feeling toward the memorial going up in her granddaughters’ honor as being exciting.
“I know the girls won’t be forgotten,” she said. “It has been moving, and I appreciate it and I know my girls do as well.”
The memorial bench will be erected on July 14.