Boy ensures his friend’s memory will stand tall with Eagle Scout project

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BELTON, Mo. – It was intended as a tribute to a young Belton girl killed by a drunk driver. Instead, a dead tree and a vandalized plaque were all that stood in front of Mill Creek Elementary. Tyler Brown is determined to make sure Anna Bronson’s memory stands tall as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Boy Scouts, neighbors and friends of Anna Bronson came together Saturday morning at Mill Creek to help Brown.

“It feels good because you’re honoring someone that was a great friend,” he said.

Brown and others spent the morning digging, dumping, and distributing dirt. He remembers his elementary friend well.

“We had every class together. We always sat at lunch together, and we always talked, laughed, played around in class,” he explained.

Bronson and her mother Diane died when a drunk-driver hit them in a wrong-way, head-on collision on the morning of July 4, 2011.

Some had planted a tree in front of Anna’s school to honor the 11-year-old, but Brown says it died because it wasn’t planted properly. Someone also vandalized a plaque.

“It’s pretty rude. Because it was something put there for an honor and then someone just destroys it,” Brown said.

The group measured, planned, and set each stone carefully in place; all part of Brown’s Eagle Scout project to make sure Anna’s memory stands tall. Organizers also put up a bench and stones with personalized messages to the little girl.

Valerie Walker says her daughter was Anna’s best friend. Her daughter Savannah made a stone which read: “I smile because you have lived.”

“She was just the sweetest little girl. Always had a smile on her face, and I just loved coming home and seeing her at my house, playing with my daughter. She had a lot of friends at this school. A lot of friends in this town. So we just want to keep her memory alive,” Walker said.

Anna’s older brother Tyler Bronson also helped with Saturday’s project. Less than two years after his little sister and mother died, his father Leroy “Buddy” Bronson was also killed by a drunk driver. His friends told FOX 4 that Tyler is an incredible example of strength.

Several businesses and people in Belton contributed money and time to make this project possible.