Sculpture at Disney World honors boy killed by alligator

ORLANDO, Fla.  — Walt Disney World has erected a lighthouse sculpture to honor the memory of a 2-year-old Nebraska boy who was killed by an alligator last year at one of its hotels.

Area television stations reported that the lighthouse was installed within the past week near where the boy died at the Florida resort.

The lighthouse is a symbol of the Omaha-based Lane Thomas Foundation, the nonprofit the boy’s family established after his death to support families of children who need organ transplants in Nebraska’s largest city.

The gold brick lighthouse features two blue stars, commemorating the youngster who introduced himself saying, “I’m Lane Thomas; I’m 2.”

“We find comfort that so many people continue to remember our sweet boy, Lane, and we believe the lighthouse stands as a beacon of hope and support for families in the depths of despair,” his parents, Matt and Melissa, said in a statement.

Disney said it erected the sculpture to spread awareness of the family’s foundation.

Last year, an alligator grabbed little Lane Graves, who was playing along the Seven Seas Lagoon beach outside Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. The child’s father, Matt Graves of Omaha, jumped into the water to try to free his son, whose body was found 16 hours later. His death was ruled an accident.

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