As the people of Dickson County mourn the loss of five-year-old Joe Clyde Daniels, a member of his church is working to build a permanent memorial in his honor.
Joe Clyde was known as “Little Joe” by fellow members of Hillview Baptist Church along Highway 70 in Dickson.
The pastor’s daughter Matti Smartt said Little Joe would regularly attend services three times a week with his two brothers and his aunt.
“Every week, when Little Joe got there, he would always come running through the back door,” Smartt described. “He was so lively and energetic. He would always come running in and he would run up and hug the pastor. We all knew that when he came in, he would be excited.”
Once Smartt learned that Joe Clyde had died, she came up with the idea to build a memorial playground outside of the church. She started a fundraising page to raise money for the project.
“I just want people to think about the lively little boy that he was, not the tragic situation that happened to him,” Smartt told News 2. “I want people to remember Little Joe as he was, not the boy who was killed.”
The fundraiser has already collected hundreds of dollars for construction of the Joe Daniels Memorial Playground.
“We just want to have something every week when we come up there, that a little piece of Joe is still with us, since he can’t be there himself,” Smartt said.
The playground would be open to the public.
Smartt said excess money collected for the project will be used to benefit Joe Clyde’s two brothers.