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Families of Abby and Libby find healing through memorial park work

DELPHI, Ind. (WLFI) — The Abby Williams and Libby German memorial park is moving forward and it’s not only providing the community a new recreation resource – it’s helping the girls’ families heal.

It’s been two years since the two teens were found dead near Monon High Bridge. The healing process after tragedy looks different for everyone, but for the Abby and Libby’s families, it looks like a 20-acre memorial park.

“This is how we chose to survive this terrible tragedy: by creating something beautiful,” said Diane Erskin, grandmother of Abby Williams.

Three ball fields, two parks, one amphitheater: This is part of what Abby and Libby’s families are working to create for their memorial park.

“This complex is really a culmination of their lives, of things that they were interested in and then they shared with friends and relatives,” said Diane.

Abby’s grandparents, Diane and Eric Erskin, said this park goes beyond keeping their memory alive. It’s providing the community with resources it has never had.

“The things that we’re envisioning here, they’re unduplicated in the community,” said Eric. “Having a facility where we can host a girls’ softball tournament. Delphi doesn’t have the field capability.”

But it soon will because the families want to create space for a softball and baseball diamonds.
The two families also plan to provide play equipment for kids with disabilities.

“Choosing a lot of specific pieces that are not only accessible but inclusive so children with different abilities would be able to actually enjoy the playground,” said Diane.

The families find this building process therapeutic.

“The most therapeutic moments when we’re out here and we’re digging in the dirt and picking up firewood,” Diane said.

The families hope other community members find healing and joy through the park as well.

“Hopefully this complex will not only be healing for our family but be a place where other families who have lost loved ones or who had violence touch their life could plant a tree or something beautiful that their lives can be commemorated the way we are choosing for our girls,” said Diane.

The weather has been a major setback for construction recently, but parts of the park are expected to be completed by this summer.