Board of DD adds 50 names to butterfly memorial

LIMA — Children chased butterflies around Marimor Legacy Park Friday, an uplifting end to a memorial ceremony hosted by the Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities to remember deceased caregivers and clients who relied on the board’s support services.

Family members watched in silence for nearly an hour as caregivers read poems and shared memories of their late clients, whose names are now inscribed onto colorful plastic butterflies on display in the park—127 butterflies in all.

The Board of Developmental Disabilities, which works with children and adults alike, founded the all-inclusive playground outside the Marimor school and Ottawa Metro Park so children with intellectual or developmental disabilities wouldn’t be isolated from their peers when they play.

The butterfly memorial garden lies just beyond the playground, a tribute to those who died before they could enjoy the space.

“Now community members, people who use the park stop,” said Theresa Schnipke, superintendent of the Board of DD, which hosted its first butterfly release last May in honor of 96 clients and caregivers.

Another 50 names were added to the memorial Friday as family members released butterflies into the air.

It’s “become a really good moment to remember people in a positive way,” Schnipke said.