A tragedy inspired one Minden native to reach out and help others suffering the same heartbreak.
When Audrey Miller McCormick and her husband Gabriel (Gabe) lost their three-day-old boy David while he slept on October 30, 2004, funeral arrangements had to be made and expenses paid.
"When we went through the funeral home and everything trying to pick out things," she said, "I just wasn't really happy with some of the things – not anything against the funeral home, they were great – but I just wasn't happy with some of the process, and my husband and I were fortunate that we had a lot of friends and family that said do whatever, it's taken care of don't worry about it."
After her own experience, McCormick thought having to pay for a funeral was not what someone who lost a child should have to worry about.
"For the last eight years, I just wondered what I could do to help," she said. "Over the years, I hear families that have lost a child and an account is set up at this bank or that bank to help that family out and to help with those expenses.
"Earlier this year I had some friends that encouraged me to start an organization that takes care of that," McCormick continued. "I actually started everything in April."
She named the organization in honor of her infant son, calling it David's Gift. Her plan is to create a place where those parents and funeral homes can go, so the family does not have to worry about money or setting up and administering bank accounts.
"From what I found, there were only two other organizations in the United States that were even similar," McCormick said. "One is for special needs children and the other is need-based and you have to fill out an application.
"I thought that was the most horrific thing to put any parent through when they're grieving for a child and needing money," she continued. "And now, they have to fill out an application to see if they make too much."
McCormick said she believes funeral directors know when a family needs help and, ultimately, she wants to utilize them to point people to her service.
David's Gift is already a non-profit corporation and is currently trying to save $1,500 to file for 501(c)(3) (tax-deductible donation) status. She almost had the money together until she found a family in need.
"We have helped with one funeral back in June," McCormick said. "We helped with the funeral for (a Minden family). There was another individual in that area that paid for half of that funeral and we paid for the other half."
"I've not done the 501(c)(3) status yet," she continued. "I had nearly ($1,500), but when we took care of the funeral in June, that depleted a lot of the funds that I had."
McCormick is now trying to rebuild the funds to file so donations to David's Gift will be tax deductible. She is also collecting donations for a second funeral.
"Of course, we're still in the beginning stages," she said. "I've got dreams a lot bigger than what I'm capable of doing on my own. My dream and my goal would be that ... anytime someone called, to say okay that funeral is taken care of. I don't want parents to have to go through that stress when they're grieving.
"David only lived three short days, but I've always known that he had a purpose," McCormick continued. "I knew it had to be called David's Gift. This is David's gift to others. This is how his memory lives on."
McCormick graduated high school in Minden in 1999. Afterward, she went to Louisiana State University in Shreveport and University of Louisiana at Monroe.
She now lives in Greenwood with her husband and two boys: Elijah, six; and Levi, three. Beside getting a non-profit off the ground, McCormick home schools their children and serves on the board of her home school co-op. Her husband is pastor at Victory Baptist.