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Neighbors spring into action to save Cherish's memorial

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Updated: 6/25/2013 11:54 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In the days following the death of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle, hundreds of people showed their love and support by leaving dozens of ballons, signs, candles even toys. 

With heavy hearts and under gloomy skies, quick-thinking, caring people worked to save the growing memorial from the weather elements.

"Such a sweet little girl, wouldn't want to see the stuff that the people brought out here ruined from the storm," said Justin Fennell.

It's not something you'd expect to see at a memorial; people taking items, not giving them. But they did so with good intentions. By the armful, folks grabbed as many stuffed animals, cards and pictures as possible.

As storm clouds swooped in, neighbors and even complete strangers sprung into action.

"I pulled up and it was the gentleman and his little girls out here and I pulled over," said Deloris Coats. "I decided to jump in and help."

Coats and her son Andre were coming to pray for Cherish's family at the spot where she was discovered by police Saturday. "I have an 8-year-old daughter myself and I know how I feel about my daughter, because it could've been anyone of our kids." 

Coats shared not only prayers with her young one but also a good lesson for any child. Even in times of tragedy, the smallest gesture can go a long way towards healing a community. 

In the end the storms did not bring a lot of rain, but the gesture alone has brought these complete strangers together.

"As a community we need to learn to come together as one. There isn't anything else, we are one," said Coats.

The good samaritans who organized the effort came to Action News to help them get in contact with Cherish's family and return the dozens of items.

Action News is reaching out to put them in touch with Cherish's family.

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