January 17, 2022

The Power of One Kind Heart: Student Honors Fallen Classmate

HCMS student Kailey Culbertson was instrumental in obtaining this headstone for her classmate who passed away while they were in elementary school

HCMS student Kailey Culbertson was instrumental in obtaining this headstone for her classmate who passed away while they were in elementary school

(Franklin, GA) — Heard County Middle School student, Kailey Culbertson, was a very good friend of Chelsey Marie Turner when they were in elementary school.

During their fourth grade year Chelsey became very ill and was diagnosed with Leukemia – she fought the battle very bravely but died November of that year. All of Chelsey’s classmates were heartbroken as well as her family.

Kailey Culbertson recently visited the Franklin City Cemetery and was able to locate Chelsey’s gravesite. However, there was no headstone… nothing to indicate it was her grave except a little plastic covered card.

Kailey was devastated. She turned that feeling of devastation into action…something positive and something good for her friend Chelsey.

Kailey organized a “hat day” at Heard County Middle School to raise money along with her classmates so they could honor Chelsey.

Mr. Cy Hume was able to assist Kailey and her classmates by contacting and acting as a liaison between them and Parmer Monument Company.

Parmer Monument Company (Mr. Todd) was able to construct a headstone for Chelsey.

The hearts of Kailey and other HCMS students are overflowing with joy from  the kindness and all of the cooperation of Mr. Todd of Parmer Monument as well as Mr. Cy Hume. ~Submitted by June Barber, HCMS



  1. That was a sad day, week, month for all 109 students in the 4th Grade, staff members, her siblings and everyone that knew her. Chelsey was one of the sweetest and thoughtful kids that I can remember in my years as a counselor. Chelsey had a smile that made my day every time I saw her during her many years at Heard Elementary. I was angry, sad, emotional but didn’t let it show ( except to her core teachers and we cried together in private.).

    Chelsey had a blood disorder but was expected to make a full recovery. I spent every day on the phone with her doctors and nurses in Atlanta Children’s Hospital and Emory. They assured me that she would be fine. She was even able to come home after her brief stay at Children’s. I saw her two days after she came home and although she was weak, she still had that amazing smile and facial expressions. I knew all would be fine. Our staff and some classmates would bring food and toys to her home. Recovery was occurring!

    I listened to her doctors and then make routine reports to her worried classmates. I told each class the improving news. I learned a tough lesson that is something I regret everyday and will never forgive myself as I persuaded her classmates that “all will be fine…Chelsey will be back to school in a few weeks, I promise!” Chelsey turned for the worst a few days later. She passed away shortly afterwards. I had to walk into her home room and announce that she Passed Away. Our Lord had others plans for Chelsey!

    We had a strong support system that week. As always, the loving HES staff helped and we released 150 pink balloons with each classmate’s private message attached to each Pink Balloon. My great friends helped me organize this huge Balloon Release within 24 hours. Mr. Fred Harcrow donated and his wife spearhead support – Mrs. Geneva Harcrow, along with Sandra Holtzclaw, Rance Kirby, Dawn Bennett, Debra Slay, Kelly Atkins, Sheri Calhoun, Angie Mock… staff, teachers and parents all put this together because most students were not able to go to her funeral. We walked outside at 2PM on a bright sunny day. Each child, adult and staff support were holding a big Pink Balloon with a golden ribbon and a farewell message attached. If anyone would like to see the hundreds of photos that I have, just stop by the school. The school had called from as far away as Three States when people found a few deflated balloons on their property.

    I am so happy to see a Headstone and the great work that Kailey Culbertson, Cassie Binder, Mr. Hume, Ms. June Barber and all her classmates did to obtain this monument for Chelsey Turner after about four years since she Flew Away to look over us.


  2. thank you for that i am her sister Haley turner.

  3. Dolanda Speights ( Dede) says

    Kailey Culbertson, her classmates, and teachers.. I want to Thank You all from the bottom of my heart. I’m so full tears that you did this for her. Chelsey was my niece and I miss her so much. She is a little angel watching over us. Her headstone is absolutely beautiful.

  4. Michelle Palmer Ellis says

    I just had a dream about Chelsey and wanted to find her obituary so I could look at her picture.. ran across this post. All of my pictures are packed from a move. I miss her so much and my children (her cousins) talk about her often. This dream made me wake up giggling. I’m so thankful for the time I got to spend with her. I love you, Chelsey Marie Turner!

    • haley n mauney says

      i miss you Michelle Palmer Ellis

      • haley n mauney says

        you may remember by haley turner

      • Michelle Ellis says

        I miss you too baby!! I’m sorry, I didn’t know you replied until I seen this post come up on Facebook and i opened it. I want to see you! If you are on Facebook, search Michelle Marie Ellis and message me. Tell Joseph we miss him too. I absolutely do remember you. I could and would never forget you. I love you! I will always be your Aunt Michelle! 😘

  5. Brenda Turner says

    Haley and Joe i want you both to know that I love you very much

  6. Brenda Turner says

    I just wanted to say thank you for everything you done for Chelsey


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    The Power of One Kind Heart: Student Honors Fallen Classmate

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