Wedding dresses serve new purpose for grieving families

Wedding dresses serve new purpose for grieving families
People usually go to the hospital with an outfit to take their baby home in, no one is prepared to find something to bury their child in. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Amy Labriola and Bev Miller (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Amy Labriola and Bev Miller (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Becky Thomas (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Becky Thomas (Source: WAVE 3 News)
They have made at least 250 angel gowns. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
They have made at least 250 angel gowns. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) - Imagine one of the happiest moments of your life. For some, it's their wedding day. Most people remember each and every moment of that day. A brides dress holds a very special place in her heart.

For countless women, that dress is worn once and typically gets stored away. Two women in Hardin County found a purpose for wedding dresses that is helping families heal.

Amy Labriola and Bev Miller have a lot in common and one thing really holds them together.

"Our love of sewing for sure," Labriola said. "We both have had three healthy babies each and feel very fortunate for that but we know people have not."

Labriola and Miller take donated wedding gowns and turn them into what they call angel gowns for children who never make it home.

"Some of the women will tell us 'I lost a baby and I really want to give this to you because I know you are giving it to someone who also lost a baby,'" Labriola said. "Some of them are stillborn, passed away at birth, some are miscarriages. We have some gowns that are really tiny and some bigger for full term babies."

The duo works together to create the gowns. Each one takes about 2-3 hours. Miller's stepson and his wife lost a baby, so she knows the pain the parents feel.

Becky Thomas donated her dress two years ago.

"I got married in April of 1986," Thomas said.

Thomas married the love of her life.

"I have known my husband since I was in the first grade," Thomas said.

Like so many brides, Thomas knew when she found the perfect dress. She wore it once, boxed it up and put it in the attic. It sat there for decades.

Thomas heard about women making angel gowns out of wedding dresses and she got online to see if anyone in her area was doing something similar. She eventually found her way to Labriola and Miller.

"These ladies making these beautiful angel gowns are sending them to their final resting place in a beautiful gown that someone else wore," Thomas said.

People usually go to the hospital with an outfit to take their baby home in, no one is prepared to find something to bury their child in.

Ashley Sheehan surely wasn't. On Feb. 7, 2016 she was 26 weeks pregnant. Sheehan received her son's gown through Hardin Memorial Hospital.

"There were no heart tones for our son," Sheehan said. "He was one pound 13 ounces. We remember them in these beautiful gowns that we didn't think to bring, that we never would have had it just means a lot to us."

It means so much to these women. Something so small is made with an incredible amount of love.

"There are others who care out there and felt their pain," Thomas said.

"We think of it as a happy thing," Labriola said. "We are blessing a family by giving a family something to wear."

Miller and Labriola are not in need of any wedding gown donations at this time. They have made at least 250 angel gowns over the past five years and have given them to area hospitals, including Hardin Memorial Hospital and Bowling Green Medical Center.?

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