• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Grandma, her family ‘deal with grief’ by helping moms

In the 11 years since her grandson’s tragic death, Pat Roberts and her family have given over 120 Little Man’s Legacy Totes to new and expectant mothers, mostly in Woodford and Anderson counties. Four mothers received Legacy Totes filled with clothes and a variety of other items for their babies at the Woodford County Health Department on Tuesdaymorning, Aug. 28. Such occasions help Roberts “deal with the grief,” of losing her grandson, she said. Richard W. Craig III – known as “Little Man” to his family – would’ve celebrated his 11th birthday on the day of his special birthday party at the Woodford County Health Department. “We do this in his memory because he passed away of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) when he was two-and-a-half months old,” Roberts told the mothers who received Little Man’s Legacy Totes on Tuesday. All of the mothers participate in the Health Access Nurturing Services (HANDS) program offered by the local health department. Roberts said her family put together their very first tote for an expectant mother on Little Man’s first birthday as a way to honor him. “A really nice thank-you card” from that mother inspired Little Man’s family “to keep doing it,” she said. Working with HANDS to identify new and expectant mothers who needed help, Roberts and her family provided six totes to mothers on Little Man’s second birthday. Her greatest joy still happens whenever she watches a mother open a baby tote, she said. And totes are often given to new and expectant mothers in the months before or after Little Man’s annual birthday party at the local health department, HANDS family support worker Amanda Lancaster pointed out. So whenever there’s a need for a tote, Roberts and her family somehow come through. “…She’s got us a tote the next day. It’s amazing. It’s a true blessing that (her family) does this,” said Lancaster. Roberts and her family fill 30-gallon Little Man’s Legacy Totes with baby clothes and other items during an annual family party celebrating the life of Richard W. Craig II. In addition to filling the totes with store-bought and donated items, 14-year-old Melody Gilpin continues to crochet baby blankets for babies coming into the world. “It makes me feel good knowing that something good’s coming out of (my son’s tragic death),” said Erica Reynolds. “Because of him,” she added, “all of these other babies are getting what they need.”

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