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PHOTO CAPTION:  A youth choir from CDC Sisisky sings "God Bless America" during the tree dedication ceremony that included an indoor memorial service and the tree planting near the entrance of the CDC facility.

April 18, 2013
By Staff reports

FORT LEE, Va. (April 12, 2013) -- Members of the Fort Lee Child, Youth and School Services community held a ceremony April 12 to honor the memory of a toddler lost during a residential fire in November of last year.

Members of the installation Parent Advisory Committee and Child Development Centers remembered 2-year-old Kourtney Flowers, who died along with her father in a post residential fire Nov. 19. They participated in an indoor memorial service and tree-planting that took place near the CDC that cared for her.

Vera Wilkins, a Child Development Center Sisisky care provider, described Flowers as an "unforgettable child whose name, face, deep raspy voice, smile, dimples, laughter, tears, intelligence, personality and passion will stay in my heart for the rest of my life."

Recalling her stubborn yet always happy spirit, Wilkins said the CDC team was privileged to have been trusted with her care.

"These days I do double takes," she added. "Everywhere I go, I see children who look like her, sound like her, have the same shirt she wore to school, or remind me of her in some way. That's how I know she's with us still in memory and spirit." Struggling to hold back tears, she concluded, "I miss you, baby girl."

Dominique Chatters, co-chair of the PAC for CDC Sisisky, participated in the memorial stone dedication in front of the tree that was planted in her honor. Chatters organized the tree dedication ceremony and emphasized the importance of recognizing youths in the Army community during the Month of the Military Child.

"Celebrate your children every day," she said. "Be grateful for the time you have with them, for we never know when Uncle Sam will call on us again ... Our children are truly what makes Soldiers Army Strong!"