BRUKE, S.D. (KELO) — A grand opening of a project in western South Dakota is near and dear to the hearts of a well-known family.
“It is a beautiful testament of love, of neighbors and community,” Kelsea Sutton said.
Work on Lenny’s Lily Pad began shortly after Billie and Kelsea Sutton lost their newborn daughter Lenny.
“Our daughter Lenny was born in 2020, and she stayed with us for 7 days, and … it was the hardest thing we’ve ever done. We knew people were hurting with us and we wanted to take that hurt and make it something happy,” Kelsea said.
Saturday brought the grand opening of a splash pad honoring their daughter.
“After she was gone, rather than people sending flowers, or money for flowers, things like that, we thought ‘what could we do to make something positive come out of it, and to remember her forever?'” Billie Sutton said.
This community helped bring Lenny’s Lily Pad to fruition. Mistie Drey served on the splash pad committee.
“In a short amount of time we raised $296,000 and that was through community members, local businesses, grant funds,” Drey said.
Now that Lenny’s Lily Pad has been completed, the committee is planning on doing even more projects in the coming years.
“I think this project is about love. I want people to see it and hear about it and think about the love they have for their neighbors and their family and their community and their home,” Kelsea said.
Billie Sutton served as minority leader in the South Dakota state legislature from 2015 until 2018, when he also ran for governor.