Social media post leads to outpour of kindness

BUFORD, Ga. -- It's been at least five years since Christine Prather Canova made it back to Erie, PA, to visit her parents grave. As Memorial Day triggered memories, she went on the Facebook page 'you might be from Erie, Pa if' with a simple request.

"I decided to ask if anyone lived near the Laurel Hill cemetery," said Canova. If so, she wondered if anyone could put a flower on her parents grave.

"I was missing them so much," she said.

Just six minutes after her post someone volunteered and the people raising their voice to help, kept coming. As the flowers were added to the grave, new pictures were added on Facebook.

Within hours, the stone was covered in color. One woman took all the flowers given and planted the ones with roots, along with some irises for next year. Another Facebook post promised to care for site year round.

"Oh yeah, I was crying. Actually my stomach was in knots because I've never had such a pouring out of kindness, ever," said Canova.

Between the photos were memories. A few who remembered her parents Gene and Ruth Prather.

"Every where she went she made people feel important," said Canova, remembering how her mother, who passed way 25 years ago, touched everyone she met.

Canova describes her as the love behind her father. She says her dad, Gene, took the spotlight, making a point to know as many people as he could in town.

Her dad opened a Mutual of Omaha office in town and together with some of his business associates, created the Zoological Society in Erie to save a local landmark.

"They took a broken down zoo that was dirty and nasty and turned it into an absolute beautiful park," said Canova.

She says her dad convinced Anheuser Busch to donate two Clydesdale horses to the zoo and two pygmy goats. He crossed the border to drive back two Canadian Lynx and sponsored the chimpanzee at the zoo.

But Canova says none of that had anything to do with this. This was simply the kindness of strangers.

"Love and kindness. I don't think there's anything else during your day that matters," said Canova.


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