LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Each December, an East Texas man carries out a labor of love. He's been putting poinsettias on the graves of children and babies for eight years now. The flowers are for little ones he didn't even know.
"When I start, I start here. I get this row first and then I start the second one and go all the way to the top," said Alvaro Rangel, a caretaker at the Garden of Memories Cemetery.
He said doing it brings him peace. He puts a poinsettia at each grave belonging to an infant or toddler located in the two special areas.
"We call it Babyland on Lullaby Lane, and this is where we bury the babies," Rangel said.
The caretaker usually starts putting the poinsettias down early December leaving them out for the whole season to each and every single grave to remember the young life left behind.
"When I started to work here, I saw one man who started putting flowers in that one, Babyland. And I asked him why he's doing that. He told me because it's for the babies, and I told him I want to help you," Rangel said.
That conversation eight years ago was where the tradition began. Over the years, the caretaker has collected or even bought poinsettias, so each life is remembered.
Steve Cavazos is a family services representative at the cemetery.
"We do have people that do and place flowers throughout the year, and of course there are some that are forgotten," Cavazos said.
Rangel said the forgotten ones are the angels. He makes it a point to remember each and every single one.
"He just took it on his own and took care of it and make the Lullaby Land and Baby Land look pretty for the innocent," Rangel said.
Alvaro said remembering each precious life, he plans to continue the tradition for years to come.
"If I can do something for some people, and they are happy, I like to do it," Rangel said.
Rangel said he plans to add more to his collection including replacing some of the poinsettias that are fading.