Makeshift Flower Memorial Created By Surfside Resident Remembers Those Lost from Tornado Tragedy

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Currents News Staff

During what feels like a helpless moment, Trina Cruse and her daughter were looking for ways to help.

“It’s so broad, so big, you don’t know where to try to start,” Trina said, “so we just stopped, and asked what they were doing and asked if we could help.”

Buckets of flowers seemingly just appeared in downtown Mayfield, Kentucky. Before long, passers-by were pitching in to grow the wall of hope.

“There’s just something about flowers,” said memorial creator Leo Soto.

Leo traveled to this small Kentucky town from Miami, Florida.

“They were struck by a sudden tragedy where there’s a lot of, a lot of loss of life,” Leo said. “I wanted to head there, to be able to help.”

The “Wall of Hope” was born of his own community’s tragedy, started by Leo after the Surfside, Florida condo collapse earlier this year.

“I know what it’s like to feel somebody,” Leo said, “to lose somebody that shouldn’t have been lost.”

Leo drove to Kentucky from Nashville, Tennessee, collecting flower donations along the way.

“I know that there’s a lot of families here that need the help, that need a place to come together and to begin to accept what happened here,” he said. “And hopefully that’s what this place becomes.”

A simple gesture through one flower.

“The flower is a symbol of life exemplified,” he said, “so people seeing their loved ones, pictures of their loved ones surrounded by flowers, is seeing their loved ones surrounded by life.” 

Yet, the flower symbolizes profound impact. 

“For him to just think of us, little old Mayfield,” Trina said, “you know that makes you feel good.”

Leo hopes the people don’t just move on, but stand united as a community.

“You know that they understand that this community is forever impacted,” Leo said. “It’s forever changed, and there has to be a certain amount of respect paid to the victims here.”