Want to donate?
• Go to www.gofundme.com/reuniteallyanddani
• Drop off donations at The Heritage Bank
Allyson H. Burrill Memorial Fund
Account # 41976796
The Heritage Bank
P.O. Box 1009
Hinesville, GA 31313
• Attend the Long County Wildlife Festival on Aug. 24, where a benefit is planned.
Liberty County resident Wendy Bruce’s family and friends are banding together to help Bruce lay her twin daughters to rest side by side.
Five years ago, Bruce’s youngest daughter, Danielle Burrill, passed away after a short illness. She was 15 at the time. This past June, Burrill’s twin sister, Allyson, 21, passed away suddenly while vacationing in Myrtle Beach with friends.
Now concerned community members are trying their best to reunite the twins by raising funds so they can be buried next to each other.
“Dani is buried closer to the road and closer to the church, and Allyson is buried closer to the woods,” said Kayko Thompson, who had known both sisters since elementary school. The Burrills attended Bradwell Institute, where Danielle was a member of the Hinesville Fire Department’s Explorer Troop, co-captain of the junior-varsity cheerleading squad and a member of Gum Branch Baptist Church.
“I was in complete shock. … I still am,” Thompson said of Allyson’s death. “I feel like ... it’s hard to explain because even Danielle’s passing — it still hasn’t hit me. Allyson never gave up on her dream. She was actually accepted to a pilot slot to complete her dream of being a pilot for the Air Force, and Danielle never met a stranger, was always friendly to everybody and always had a smile on her face.”
Allyson was an Air Force ROTC cadet in her junior year at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She held several leadership roles in her ROTC unit and was recognized as cadet of the year. The Air Force, recognizing her potential, also selected her for pilot training after graduation and commissioning.
“They were both friends of mine, and Allyson was a best friend of mine,” Thompson said. “Once we found out that Allyson passed away, we wanted to try and make this happen. They were twin sisters. They came into this world together, and we want them to lay at rest eternally next to each other.”
Bruce’s friend, Mamie Brooks, said both girls are buried at Gum Branch Cemetery.
“When Dani passed away, there was a family over at the Gum Branch Church that donated Dani’s plot to Wendy. Technically, she was buried there for free. We didn’t have to buy the plot,” Brooks said. “But we will have to move Dani, and Wendy is going to give the plot back to the family who donated it to her ... and we have to buy plots for the twins and the family. Also, we are getting Ally’s headstone completed and still have to pay for her funeral. It’s going to cost a lot more than we thought it would.”
Brooks said the group estimates it needs to raise around $25,000.
Thompson quickly set the wheels in motion, creating an account on gofundme.com. Brooks said The Heritage Bank also has set up an account and is accepting donations.
“After Dani died, Wendy and the girls’ grandma weren’t doing too well, and at that time, it was Ally who stepped up and took care of everything for Danielle in planning the funeral and everything ... she was the strong girl, always active and would do anything for anybody,” Brooks said, adding that the family needs the community’s support to help reunite the sisters.
Brooks and Thompson also are planning a benefit for the twins at the Long County Wildlife Festival on Aug. 24.
Activities will include a cake sale, cornhole tournament and a glow run. Local band 3rd Class Citizens also is scheduled to play at the event.
Funds raised online, through The Heritage Bank and the benefit at the Wildlife Festival will be used to help buy the plots, the headstone and move the girls together. Brooks said that if more money than needed is raised, the remainder will be donated to local “no-kill” animal shelters, youth groups and churches.