OUTER BANKS, N.C. -- The Outer Banks community dedicated a Little Red Mailbox Thursday in memory of the young New Hampshire boy who was swept away by a wave last month.
Four-year-old Wesley Belisle was swept out to sea while walking on a Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, beach with his mother on April 25, WTKR reports. Authorities recovered his body days later after an extensive search and rescue effort.
The mailbox is perched on the beach access at Lillian Street in Kitty Hawk. On its side, angel wings painted in orange, Wesley's favorite color.
"I think coming together the evening and welcoming this little red mailbox will be the hope we need to get us back and happy and to remembering this can be a great place to live. Dangerous, but a great place to live," said Deborah Mennicucci.
The community bonded over the horrible tragedy, something they said they can all relate to.
"I've been in the ocean holding their hands and a wave will come back, knock us all down," said Sue Goodrich, the founder of The Little Red Mailbox and mom of two. "You lose the grasp, but this time they lost it forever. So everybody has that pain in their heart and for that little boy."
The goal for the mailbox is for anyone who comes to the beach to write a message of love and hope, or they can read the messages others have written.
Mennicucci said she thought of getting a mailbox for Wesley a few days after he went missing. She kicked into action, getting permission from the town of Kitty Hawk. Wednesday, someone from Public Works came to pick up the mailbox from Mennicucci's home to properly install it on the beach access. He took care to make sure the winds wouldn't damage the orange wings painted on the side.
"I’m excited to see those journals get filled. To save them and hold them close to my heart. This is our community’s mailbox," said Mennicucci. She plans on checking in on the mailbox and then scanning in the entries.
The Mayor of Kitty Hawk, along with the fire department and EMS crews, also attended the dedication ceremony. Now, the community is hoping it will lift everyone back up.