A drunk driver took her life at just nine-years-old but Bella Morgan's legacy will live on in Mitchell.
With support from the city, her family is raising money to plant a butterfly garden in her honor and hope to move forward on the one year anniversary of her tragic death.
"It's so touching. It's so wonderful. It makes me just think, 'Bella, look at you. You're changing people's lives and you're making them understand what life is all about," mom Jeanie Morgan said.
Last March, Michael Sedlmeier was driving drunk and led police on a high speed chase through Mitchell. He ran a stop sign and hit an SUV carrying several children on their way to a museum. Bella was ejected from the vehicle and killed.
Now her mother, Jeanie, wants to turn the nightmare into a positive for the community.
"I don't want to focus on the negative because I want to be able to honor her in any way I can," Jeanie said.
The city has agreed to help build a butterfly garden to memorialize Bella at Northridge Park. Community donations are expected to cover the $20,000 price tag.
Sioux Falls Attorney Carolyn Thompson has never met the family but has agreed to match donations up to $5,000.
"When I saw it on the news and I saw this woman's grief and take this tragedy and turn it into a memorial to impact lives, I certainly prayed for her healing and for the driver, but it just stuck with me and I just kept thinking, we can do more," Thompson said.
Northridge Park is significant to the family. Bella used to live near it and spent many afternoons playing with her friends and family there.
And once the snow thaws and the grass begins to green, Bella's family and complete strangers hope their donations make the butterfly garden as beautiful as the young life that was lost.
If you would like to make a monetary donation towards landscaping or benches, it can also be submitted to:
Bella’s Butterfly Garden
PO Box 254
Mitchell, SD 57301
Donations can also be deposited to Izabella “Bella” Morgan’s account at any US Bank.
More information about the butterfly garden is attached below.