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Angels In Our Midst

Angels In Our Midst

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Angels in Our Midst (Stephen's Garden)

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 01:43 PM CDT
OKALOOSA COUNTY - There's a new, special place to celebrate life in Okaloosa County. It was inspired by a boy with a never ending smile; the smile of an Angel in our Midst.

Tonja; "Just loved life, full of energy.
He was a joy.
He had that kind of dry sense of humor."

Those are stories of Stephen Gebert. He attended class at Silver Sands School.
Tonja Gebert, Stephen's mom; "Stephen was born blind and had some development delays. We always had doors closed for a lot of stuff over the years."

But, at Silver Sands, the doors were always open. Teachers and staff are always ready to meet every student's needs.

Tonja; "When he passed away, the first thing I thought was Silver Sands."

Stephen was just 13 when he passed away in March. In lieu of flowers, his mother requested donations for Silver Sands. The school used that money to build Stephen's Celebration Garden, a place for memories.

Marline Van Dyke, Silver Sands Principal; "Because everything that we do here is about making the best of our quality of life and making the best of every moment of life with our students."

Lili Sparks, Stephen's classmate; "This is Stephen. He's my friend. He likes to read books and listen to music."

Classmate Lili and his teacher remember the boy who always had a smile.
"Is there something else you would like to share with us about Stephen?" "Yes."

Lili; "My friend Stephen likes to play with cars and Bob the Builder."
Marline Van Dyke; "Silver Sands Principal; He would say these little things under his breath. And you'd go, Did he just say that? And make you laugh always."

Leray Williams, Stephen's Teacher; "If my lesson plan wasn't great that day, he taught me how to change that and how to listen to my students. He made me a better teacher."

In Stephen's Garden, they will recount the memories of him and others who've touched their lives.

Marline; "So they didn't pass so silently. And we have a place to think of them at all times.
As for what Stephen might make of all of this..."

Tonja; "Now he can see the grass, the green grass. The blue sky.
He's got a big grin on his face. I think that's what he's doing because he's loving it."

Angels in our Midst is brought to you by Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.Angels in Our Midst (Stephen's Garden)

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