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‘We feel like this is a good way to honor her memory’

WESTOVER — Next to the bus stop, at the corner of Holland and Cleveland avenues in Westover, stands a white wooden box with glass doors — a blessing box adorned with pink ribbons and the words “Devon’s Heart.”

The directions are simple. Take what you need. Leave what you can.

It’s part memorial, part legacy, and all about community.

“Our daughter, Devon, passed away when she was 32, in 2016, from breast cancer. She also struggled with addiction,” Dawn Tatar explained. “She was always concerned about people who were struggling and in need, be that addiction or mental illness, homelessness, whatever. She just always had such a heart for people. She was always trying to help.”

So Dawn came up with the idea of the blessing box and her husband, Duane, used donated materials to build it in the back of their business, WV Jewelry & Loan.

With the city’s permission they wheeled it across the street a few weeks back and stocked it up for the first time.

It’s been nonstop since.

“She fills it every day,” Duane said. “She puts blankets and socks and gloves in there — really anything people would need, we’ll put in there.”

Dawn explained that nearly every day when she crosses the street to check and stock the box, someone in the community has left items.

“I just went over earlier and somebody had put toothbrushes and toothpaste and canned goods in there. We’ll take just about everything except fresh food. Maybe some apples and oranges and that sort of thing, but nothing that would need to stay refrigerated,” Dawn said.

Socks, gloves, hats, blankets, and hygiene supplies of all types are also very popular items.

Citizens can stock the box directly or drop items at the pawn shop across the street.

“If the box is full, bring it over here. Don’t go home with it,” Duane said. “We’ll stock it as the need arises.”

Dawn said everything from building the box to keeping it supplied has only reinforced her faith in the Westover community.

That too, she explained, is a fitting tribute to the couple’s late daughter.

“You never really know what that kindness you do for someone will mean in their life,” she said. “We feel like this is a good way to honor her memory.”

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