PEORIA, Ill., — A vandalized statue at Serenity Memorial Park on the South Side of Peoria left neighbor’s hearts broken.
The park is dedicated to Peorians who have lost a loved one. UFS Downtown Outlet Center owner, Pierre Serafin and a partner brought a statue of Jesus Christ to the park, meant to symbolize peace.
What once stood for peace, now serves as a painful reminder of how some hate rather than love.
“I was more hurt that whoever did it, didn’t understand the significance of it,” Peoria City Councilwoman Denise Moore said.
The face of the statue is bashed in and the hands are broken off.
“It broke my heart. I drive past here for work sometimes and it gives me a sense of peace and it’s nice to see something that gives you peace and hope in an area that is plagued by violence and crime,” Nancy Throck Morton of Bartonville said.
Serafin, along with other donors invested 15,000 dollars to commission the piece.
“In light of what’s going on in our cities we need peace, we need harmony between all kinds of people,” Serafin said.
He is disappointed that it was vandalized only a few months after completion.
“What this statue did was try to provide hope, provide peace and tranquility for those who have lost loved ones,” Moore said.
Councilwoman Moore stepped in to help by creating a Go Fund Me for the restoration of the statue.
“I’m hoping the community will gather together and even if 15,000 people just gave a dollar that’s 15,000 dollars,” Moore said.
“That statue would mean more if we could get the community to rally behind it and then it becomes truly part of the community,” Serafin said.
However, he mentions that the statue may be irreparable. If it cannot be fixed the statue will have to be replaced.
In the meantime, Serafin plans to put a sign around the neck of Jesus Christ that reads, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”
Moore says the culprits are lost and are in need of prayer.
“We forgive you, we do and we love you and we want to help you,” she said.
You can donate to the “Peace for Peoria” Go Fund Me by clicking here.
Currently, $1,940 has been raised to go toward the statue.