CAMARGO, Ill. (WCIA) — The village has some new playground equipment as a tribute to two of its own.
Caitlin Conner and Christine Killion both died unexpectedly in the past year. A playground and a bench swing are now dedicated to them at Opal Thompson Park.
Village leaders say Conner and Killion both had hearts of gold. They want people to stop and think of them whenever they’re at the park using the new equipment.
“We’ve had a lot of tragedy in the last year.”
But this was a celebration of sorts as the community honors the lives of Conner and Killion.
“Anytime anybody passes it’s hard, but it’s especially that hard when they’re young.”
Caitlin was a 10-year old going into 5th grade when a distracted driver rear-ended the car she was in last June.
Christine was a teacher who died this spring.
“These are brand new pieces of equipment. They will always have their name on them.”
Bart Dann is the village president. He says they don’t want anyone to forget who Caitlin and Christine were.
“With Christine, she was a teacher, she was always helping people and always loved everybody she was a wonderful, wonderful soul. As far as Cailtlin goes, she was a beautiful, shy and young girl but she loved to come over here and play.”
“People know how important this park was to Caitlin, she loved to come here and play.”
Caitlin Conner’s father, Matt, says this gesture by the village means a lot to them.
“I hope they remember how she died, and also how she lived, how she loved to play and have fun.”
As this community continues to heal, they hope the new playground equipment will stand as strong symbols.
“We wanted people to realize if you’re over here, just remember them. Don’t take life for granted, because you never know. Tomorrow’s not guaranteed.”
It was an emotional day for many, but also a day where the entire village could come together in remembrance.
The Connor family created Caitlin’s Challenge, a campaign to raise awareness about distracted driving. They posted signs around town and spread the message on social media, pushing for stricter laws so this doesn’t happen to other people.