Mysterious tribute honors Garland tornado victims

Natalie Solis reports.

- A mysterious roadside tribute has appeared in Garland to honor the victims of last year’s deadly December tornado.

Family members of the victims say it's been a painful year but say the mysterious memorial is an unexpected comfort.

Carolyn Edison is constantly thinking of her daughter LaShonda Whitaker and finds comfort in knowing a stranger is thinking of her, too.

Nine wooden Christmas trees painted and decorated to honor the nine tornado victims popped up on I-30 at the George Bush Turnpike. The trees are complete with sweet, personalized details.

Whitaker was killed in her car the night of December 26. Her friend, Kimberly Tippet, was also killed along with Tippet’s 1-year-old son, Kamryn. He was represented by a smaller tree next to his mom’s tree.

“It’s very difficult. Don't know how we are going to be or how that's going to affect us,” Edison said. “This is my first time actually speaking to anyone because it was so emotional and private at the time when it happened.”

Edison is certainly not alone.

Kim Lowrie's father, Cecil, is being remembered with a tree that has the number 54 for the years he was married to his wife, Evelyn. They were driving together the night of the tornado. She survived but lost her life partner. Their children are still learning how to cope.

“Just being with family, especially on the first year anniversary, it's going to be very hard,” Lowrie said.

The families say it’s a pain like no other that was soothed by a simple, heartfelt gesture on a small hilltop for all to see.

“Hopefully we can ease through this,” Edison said. “Things like this make it seem like her life wasn't in vain. Someone else is remembering her right along with us.”

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