About the San Antonio Angel of Hope Foundation

12/02/14

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The San Antonio Angel of Hope Foundation was officially established as a non-profit organization on November 8, 2004.  However, the initiative to bring an Angel of Hope to San Antonio began in September 2003.  The Foundation consists of six board members, five parents who have lost children, and a non-voting representative from the University of the Incarnate Word.

Donations received at our annual candlelight vigil go to area charities who provide special services and needs to disadvantaged and at-risk children.  Previous local non-profit organization recipients include the Children's Shelter, the Children's Bereavement Center, the Assistance League of San Antonio, Any Baby Can, the TEAMability Learning Center, Respite Care of San Antonio, Threads of Love, and the Texas Children's Choir.

The following articles appeared in the San Antonio Express-News and describes how this project began.  Some of the information is dated due to changes in the project:

Angel in the making

Web Posted: 03/23/2004 12:00 AM CST

Rosemary Barnes
San Antonio Express-News

Roger and Marcy Bousum were inconsolable after the sudden death of their youngest daughter, Katie, in 2000.

The first year after the 19-year-old's death in a car crash, the Bousums could find refuge from their overwhelming despair only in their sleep.

"I'd get home from work and go straight to bed. ... I don't remember that whole year because I slept so much," Marcy Bousum said. "It was a coping mechanism that came very naturally."

As his grief softened, Roger Bousum, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel stationed at Randolph AFB for 11 years, knew what he had to do to help himself and other bereaved parents.

The Bousums recently launched a fund-raising campaign to erect an angel statue in San Antonio to memorialize deceased children and provide parents, siblings and other loved ones with an outlet for their grief.

"I think this is a space that San Antonio needs because so many of the city's children have died in car accidents and drive-by shootings and due to illnesses," Roger Bousum said. "We're still looking for comfort, for something to make us feel better."

The Bousums got the idea for the statue from Richard Paul Evans' best-selling novel, "The Christmas Box," published in 1993. In the story, an elderly woman mourns at the base of an angel monument in Salt Lake City for the 3-year-old daughter she lost many years earlier.

Known as the Angel of Hope, the bronze monument depicts a child angel with its arms stretched upward as if waiting to be picked up by a parent. The angel is 4 feet, 3 inches tall with a wingspan wider than 5 feet.

Marcy Bousum felt an immediate connection with the story because her late daughter not only collected angels, but she also was known as "everyone's angel" among her friends at Judson High School, where she graduated in 1999.

"Katie was an intelligent, responsible, happy, friendly person who always put others first," said Marcy Bousum, 52, a librarian for the San Antonio School District. "She would love the angel memorial."

Katie died around 12:20 a.m. July 5, 2000, when the car she was riding in spun out of control and slammed into a utility pole on Interstate 35. The driver also died at the scene. No alcohol was involved, according to police records.

Mandy Bousum-Jackson, Katie's big sister and only sibling, said she hopes the angel memorial gives her parents the peace and closure they're searching for.

"If they can also help others through the grieving process, that would be great," said Bousum-Jackson, 25.

The Bousums are hoping the community responds to their campaign in the generous spirit for which San Antonians are known.

"We want to pique the interest that is out there for a memorial of this kind," Roger Bousum said.

Although Evans wrote of a fictional stone angel statue, hundreds of grieving parents traveled to Salt Lake City to view the statue. But there wasn't one.

The reaction to his book inspired Evans to have a child angel statue created and erected in his hometown of Salt Lake City. He also donated a copy of the statue to Oklahoma City as a memorial for children killed in the 1995 bombing of the federal building there.

Evans unwittingly started a trend. Many of the grieving parents who saw the statues decided their communities needed one.

Today, 45 statues have been erected nationwide, including in Houston and Bedford, with more than 100 in the works in the United States and around the globe, said Lisa Van Valkenburg, statue coordinator for the Christmas Box House International.

Evans started the nonprofit agency to handle angel statue orders, but it also builds shelters for abused children in Utah.

In addition to the $12,500 cost of the statue, the San Antonio campaign must raise $3,000 to $6,000 for a monument base and to acquire property for the memorial.

Marcy Bousum hopes the statue might be placed on donated property on the grounds of an established institution, such as a university, hospital or city park, where there would be ongoing maintenance for years to come.

Those interested can donate at any Broadway Bank, with payment made out to "The Angel Statue Fund," account No. 0461520. For information about the angel, contact Roger Bousum at RBOUSUM@satx.rr.com.

 

The following article appeared in the San Antonio Express-News.

Grace of Giving: Angelic aspirations

Web Posted: 12/10/2005 12:00 AM CST

Laura Jesse
Express-News Staff Writer

Marcy and Roger Bousum want to give bereaved parents a present of their own: a public but sacred place where they can seek solace and memorialize their children who have died.

The Bousums' 19-year-old daughter, Katie, was killed in 2000 when the car in which she was riding spun out of control and slammed into a utility pole.

Three years later, the couple started a campaign to raise nearly $35,000 to purchase and erect an Angel of Hope statue, a 4-foot-3-inch bronze statue of an angel with her arms outstretched as if waiting to be picked up.

The angel will be tucked on the campus of the University of the Incarnate Word near the grotto and within hearing distance of the San Antonio River.

"This area seemed peaceful, serene and safe in that the statue will be taken care of here," said Marcy Bousum, a librarian with the San Antonio Independent School District.

Although the site and professional services involved have been donated, the Bousums are still $22,000 away from their goal.

The nonprofit organization started by the couple, San Antonio Angel of Hope Foundation, is among the many nonprofit agencies the Express-News is featuring in its annual Grace of Giving series, which runs daily through Christmas.

The money needed would pay for a base for the statue, construction materials, landscaping and labor to complete the memorial.

The statue would provide a much-needed place in the city for the public to memorialize children who have died. Parents can go to the cemetery, as the Bousums go to Katie's grave at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

But Roger Bousum, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, realizes not all parents live in the same city as their child's grave.

"And we had a couple call who said they had a miscarriage," Marcy Bousum added. "So some people don't even have graves to visit."

 

For some parents, Roger Bousum added, going to the cemetery is just too painful.

"So they can come here," he said.

Roger Bousum learned about the angel statue in Richard Paul Stevens' book "The Christmas Box," a gift he received after his daughter's death.

In the book, an elderly woman mourns the death of her 3-year-old daughter at an angel statue in Salt Lake City.

After hundreds of grieving parents traveled to the city to find the statue, which existed only in the book, Stevens' group, the Christmas Box House International, commissioned the first statue for Salt Lake City in 1994.

Since then 61 statues have been dedicated in the United States, six more have been ordered, at least 50 more groups are trying to raise the money for a statue and two international contacts have been made, said Lisa Van Valkenburg, statue coordinator for the Christmas Box House International.

A vigil is held at each memorial every year at 7 p.m. Dec. 6, the date of the little girl's death in the book. There is a moment of silence and people place white flowers at the statue.

No matter how long it takes to raise the money, Roger Bousum said it's most important for bereaved parents to know the statue is there for them.

"Every day we look in the obituaries and we feel for and send cards to the families that have lost children, just to let them know there is someone who has been through it," he said. "To let people know that this will happen, that's important to us as well."

Tax-deductible donations made out to "The Angel Statue Fund" can be deposited at any Broadway Bank to account No. 0461520. For more information, contact Roger Bousum at RBOUSUM@satx.rr.com.


ljesse@express-news.net

 

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This site was last updated 12/02/14