BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL)- When the news that Evelyn Boswell’s body was found broke, memorials were immediately set up near the family property where her body was recovered and at the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.
Those continued for weeks as the community mourned the loss of the 15-month-old girl.
What started as a search group for a missing toddler turned into a support group for the sheriff’s office during their investigation. Now, “Evelyn’s Army” is working to help children in domestic violence situations to honor her.
“When we started it, we were just focused on finding Evelyn and making sure that she was safe, but then we found out the horrible news regarding her and we chose to add some positivity to her name,” said one of the group’s administrators, Sonnie Moore.
The group describes themselves as an army of moms hoping to bring comfort to many in Evelyn’s name.
“When we got the horrible news about what happened to Evelyn, we decided that we wanted to do something to honor her memory and to make sure she was never forgotten, and that’s where the comfort bags came into play,” said another group admin, Kandis Crook. “I never met Evelyn, I never held her. I never got to read her a bedtime story. I never got to have that with Evelyn, but I wish so much that I could have done that for her because that’s what she deserved.”
Evelyn’s Army hopes to show love, one comfort bag at a time.
“There is a handwritten note of love and support that goes into each bag, and it’s signed ‘Love Evelyn’s Army,’ and it’s basically just letting the child know that they are loved, they are important,” Crook said. “Bad things happen, but even in bad times, there’s always something good to look forward to.”
The bags contain items like stuffed animals, coloring books, candy and other items to bring comfort for children in domestic violence situations.
“There are crayons, there’s a slinky, just a couple of little toys to have to be able to provide a bond or a safe space with the officer and the child,” Moore said.
The group has given dozens of the bags to the sheriff’s office that spent weeks searching for Evelyn to hand out. They even received an award from the department for their efforts.
“With Evelyn, we wish we could have helped her,” Moore said. “So that’s why we do what we do now and help other kids.”
These efforts by Evelyn’s Army continue during the ongoing effort to find justice for Evelyn Mae Boswell.
“I just want her to never be forgotten and I want justice to be served for her,” Crook said.
Evelyn’s Army will be having a celebration of life on what would have been Evelyn’s second birthday Saturday, November 21. The celebration will start at the sheriff’s office at 12:30 p.m. to deliver comfort bags. Then it will move to her gravesite for a balloon release.
The group does take donations regularly for items.