DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVM) - After 6-year-old Jeremiah Henderson tragically drowned in the Chattahoochee River, one North Carolina man decided to honor him with a specially-made casket.
Jeremiah’s mom Cieria Melton says her and her family were overwhelmed when they first saw the custom-made casket based on Jeremiah’s favorite show “Paw Patrol” made by Fletcher Collins.
Collins drove nine hours from Elizabethtown, N.C., where he owns Glorious Custom Designs, to hand-deliver the casket and make the family feel special.
Glorious Customs Designs and Collins make custom caskets for families to lay their loved ones to rest in special way.
Collins says when Jeremiah’s father reached out to him with this horrific story, he immediately got to work.
“From the time I received that phone call, it was really a touching situation and many days I shed tears behind it, thinking about it and I’ve done several projects, but something about this one was different and I felt that I needed to be there with that family for some closure and to show my heartfelt love and compassion towards them,” said Collins.
Melton says she can not thank Collins enough for his dedication on this project for Jeremiah and seeing the casket for the first time was more than she could imagine.
“My reaction was wild. I was shocked, I mean I [have] never seen anything like that before in my life and when he told us what he was doing for Jeremiah, we really [weren’t] expecting what we received, the blessing we received," said Melton.
Collins also built a custom headstone in the shape of a bed to represent Jeremiah resting.
“I know, and we know, he is with the Lord, but what was on my mind and heart was to create and to build something as if we go in the room and look over our children as they take in their night’s sleep,” said Collins.
Melton says Jeremiah loved “Paw Patrol” and his favorite character was Chase.
“Jeremiah was a big ‘Paw Patrol’ fan, I mean Chase was his favorite character, and to see that, it didn’t give us much relief, but it gave us a little relief that we had someone to come way down like Mr. Fletcher who actually cared and to present us with what he presented us,” said Melton.
Melton says she wants to keep Jeremiah’s name alive with a life jacket initiative that would spark parents to make sure every child near the river has on life jacket on, so something like this will never happen again.
“I thank Columbus. I mean all the people who [have] come together to do the life jackets for Jeremiah, I just ask that parents please just watch your kids and I wish they would put up something around that area to prevent this from happening. I just pray for all families because no one deserves to go through this, what I’m going through,” said Melton.
Due to the conditions of Jeremiah’s body he had to be buried a week early, so he was not buried in the “Paw Patrol” casket, but it will forever be in his name where the family can visit it at Collins’ showroom.