We were moved by the efforts of the Conemaugh Township Rotary club to honor Kaylene Roedel, who was murdered in 2016.
The group gifted a bench to Roedel’s daughter last week on Eden Hicks’ 9th birthday. She was just 3 when her mother was killed.
Michael Hicks, Eden’s father, said the girl wears a necklace “with the ashes of her mother in it” in Roedel’s honor.
Now she also has a bench that bears the message, “I have an angel in heaven. I call her Mom.”
Hicks had contacted Forever Media, in Johnstown, about the company’s Wishes of Christmas program, Rotary member Andi Palmar told reporter Patrick Buchnowski.
“His story rang a bell with me because I had just lost my dad,” Palmar said.
“I lost my mom eight years earlier. You still have an emotional attachment to your mom.”
Michael Hicks said he and Roedel were married in 2012 and had separated but never divorced.
Roedel’s boyfriend, Christopher George Rowe, is accused of killing her and will stand trial for murder.
Hicks said the bench will stand as a symbol of the life that was taken.
“She has no voice,” he said. “This will give her a voice.”