When I first read Peoria County Coroner, Jamie Harwood, partnered with OSF to conduct a burial ceremony for the unclaimed bodies at OSF, I was completely impressed. Maybe “impressed” isn’t the correct word… thankful? I just knew I wanted to be at that ceremony. These people are someone’s daughter, brother; possibly mom or dad. I wasn’t going to post anything about it…I just wanted to go and show respect for those being laid to rest. Because, as Mr. Harwood has said, Everyone deserves to be buried. And they deserve to know they mattered.
When I got to the burial site, I didn’t expect to see many people. To my surprise and gratefulness, there was quite a crowd already gathered. As Mr. Harwood spoke, you could hear the compassion he has for those being laid to rest, and the love he has for this project. It seemed this REALLY meant something to him. It then meant something to us. It’s completely refreshing to know someone with such empathy is in a position such as his. And THIS is why I decided to write about this event.
It was a beautiful service, and now I know those souls are free. Thank you Jamie Harwood and OSF for putting this together.
— Stephanie Blue