A year after wife's death, man shines light on dark issue

Ed Pierce honors late wife by laying flowers wear she died. Source: Zach Hunt
Ed Pierce honors late wife by laying flowers wear she died. Source: Zach Hunt

SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) - Shining a light into the darkness -- Ed Pierce is hoping to do just that while remembering his late wife.

Sunday marked one year since the day Pierce's life was flipped upside down. Pierce was driving a boat that struck the unlit remains of the old quarantine station in the waters near Southport.

The accident left Pierce banged up, but unfortunately killed his wife, Barbara.

Friday, armed with more than 2,000 flowers, Pierce returned to the structure that will forever be in his mind. He covered the structure with the flowers as a memorial and as a reminder that dangers still stand in the water.

"I want to remember my wife, and I wanted to incorporate as many people as I could in that remembrance," Pierce said.  "It would have been easy to go out and buy flowers," Pierce continued, but he asked others for help.

In a Facebook post Pierce wrote,

"So here's my plan to create something good out of the most tragic day in my life.
1. Involve others in honoring Barbara's memory.
2. Benefit others through a gift in Barbara's name.
3. Get this platform lit or removed to prevent a future tragedy."

Pierce says the attention surrounding the accident and his wife's death faded quickly. "I think that was the call to action; when they [donors] said, 'how can this go a year without such an inexpensive solution?"

Pierce has contacted a lawyer in an attempt to figure out who should be responsible for paying to light the structure. As of right now, there are no plans to remove or light the old quarantine station.

"I'm not looking for anything other than a light on this platform. It would be great if it fell into the water, but a light would be sufficient from having anyone else experience a tragedy like this," Pierce said.

Along with the flowers, Julia's Florist delivered over 250 cards sent by donors. Pierce plans on reading them to Barbara on Sunday, the anniversary of her death.

On the flowers covering the unlit structure Pierce says, "It looks pretty now, it will look even prettier with a light on it, so that no one has to endure what I've gone through."

The gift given in Barbara's name will be the same amount of money used to purchase flowers donated by others. That money will go to the Dando Amor charity to help orphans around the world.

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