DIXON – Volunteers arrived slowly at first, then more came, and still more – all refusing to let the bluster of snowflakes and biting wind stop them from honoring the deceased of Dixon State School.
About 20 volunteers turned out Sunday afternoon to clean up and place flowers at the more than 2,000 graves of residents of former state school that housed thousands of people with mental disabilities and others, including unwanted children.
Today nearly 2,200 graves are on the grounds of what’s now the Dixon Correctional Center.
Kim Ellis started the project to honor the memory of Elizabeth, a former state school resident Ellis grew up with after her mom took her in after finding her fending for herself on the streets in Sterling. Elizabeth died in September, but Ellis didn’t want her – or others like her – to be forgotten, which led to the idea of placing a flower on each grave at the cemetery.