Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,185 covers and 55,435 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Nicole Richie Gets 'Serious' in Season 2 of Candidly Nicole: 'This Season, No Topic Is Off-Limits'
- Read the Cover Story: Growing Up Kennedy!
Exclusive Family Photos from White House Nanny
- Jennifer Garner Arrives in Atlanta for Work After Wrapping Up Bahamas Vacation with Soon-to-Be-Ex Ben Affleck
- Maryland Mom Arrested After Allegedly Abandoning Baby Girl on Roadside
- Abby Wambach Caps Off Her Historic Soccer Career With a Very Sweet World Cup Victory
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- March 27, 2006
- Vol. 65
- No. 12
A Final Home for Forgotten Babies
Abandoned Newborns Receive Love, a Name—and a Gentle Burial—Thanks to Medic Tim Jaccard
So far Jaccard has buried 80 babies here, each of them linked by the last name he gives them—Hope —and the tragic facts of their brutally short lives. The burials are not simple affairs: Each child gets carnations, a tiny white coffin lined with satin, a teddy bear and volunteer bagpipers to escort them on their final journey. The funerals are held in a church nearest to where the baby was found in case "the mother wants to come," Jaccard says. "Maybe it will help her heal." Granite headstones with brass plaques mark the burial sites, each shared by two babies. Says Jaccard: "I want to give the babies some dignity."
His mission began nearly a decade ago, when Jaccard, a medic with the Nassau County Police Department, was dispatched to a courthouse. "Baby, not breathing" was the report. When Jaccard arrived, he witnessed a scene that haunts him even today: a newborn girl drowned in the bowl of a toilet. "I lost it," he says. "I just started crying in that stall." Jaccard's own daughter was pregnant at the time, which only added to his incomprehension of how anyone could commit such a crime.
In the months that followed, Jaccard came across three similar deaths —a baby wrapped in a plastic bag, a child found buried in the backyard of a residence, a child in a recycling bin—and his commitment to them began to take shape. By applying to a family court judge, Jaccard won legal guardianship of the bodies and bought plots for them at the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury, N.Y. Typically, the babies are given a first name by the police officer or civilian who finds them; Jaccard came up with the idea of adding Hope to the name, he says, because "there's got to be hope for this generation of kids, there's got to be a way we can rescue them."
Jaccard's work has expanded far beyond just burials—he wants to get at the root of the problem, before the babies are abandoned. His AMT Children of Hope Foundation (the AMT stands for Ambulance Medical Technicians), using funds gathered from donations and corporate sponsors, pays $2,500 for counseling, prenatal care and hospital fees for expectant mothers to help them through the entire adoption process. In addition, the foundation works to publicize safe haven laws that allow parents to drop off newborns at hospitals or firehouses without fear of prosecution (see box). Although Jaccard in no way condones parents who abandon their children, he says he understands some of the factors that influence them. "You take a woman who is pregnant with an unwanted pregnancy, suffers from depression and has no support system whatsoever. I think a lot of the time they don't know what to do," he says.
Jaccard comes to the Island of Hope a few times a month after his overnight shift, often sitting on a bench and thinking of his own grandchildren. At his home he has folders on each child, with death certificates, newspaper clippings and letters he received from the public. "This is their picture book, this is their lives," he says. "They're never really gone."
Still, Jaccard's wife of 22 years, Aedan, a retired nurse, insists her husband rarely gets depressed himself. "He's saddened sometimes. We all are," says Aedan. "But he never gets in a slump." After planning his next fund-raiser and the funeral for a little boy named Michael, Jaccard remains focused on the future. "You can change the world," he says. "Never think you cannot."
For more information, go to www.amtchildrenofhope.com, or call 877-796-HOPE
- Bethany Lye/Westbury,
- Melody Simmons/Washington,
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!