Ruth Coker Burks AIDS Memorial

$69,074 of $75k goal

Raised by 1,807 people in 16 months
Travis Dubreuil
on behalf of Ruth Burks
 BROOKLYN, NY
"Someday," she said, "I'd love to get a monument that says: This is what happened. In 1984, it started. They just kept coming and coming. And they knew they would be remembered, loved and taken care of, and that someone would say a kind word over them when they died."

Ruth Coker Burks was there when no one else was. She was a friend and supporter of gay men who had AIDS at a time when everyone else turned them away. Selflessly giving time, compassion and unconditional love to those who so desperately needed it.

Please read her full story here: 
  http://m.arktimes.com/arkansas/ruth-coker-burks-the-cemetery-angel/Content?oid=3602959

You can also hear her story at StoryCorps here: 
  https://storycorps.org/listen/ruth-coker-burks-and-paul-wineland/

And now Ruth needs our help! She has had significant health setbacks, was discriminated against by an employer that did not want to have his business associated with AIDS activism, and she was blackballed. She lost her health insurance, then, without health insurance, she suffered a stroke and clots in her lungs.  She needs assistance to build the memorial as well as a modest amount to take care of her health bills and expenses. She helped so many when no one else would, please help her now!

UPDATE: 

Hi Everyone. I just received an email from Ruth. :)
She is very excited and grateful that we are working towarr dream! She said:

It was always my hope that a monument would someday be placed there with the names of those brave men whose families didn't want them to bury them. I have also buried a few whose families didn't have the money to bury them..It is a peaceful place and my guys knew that if nothing else they were loved by me. It gave them such peace to know that they had a final resting place.

Let's make this happen! Please share it on your social media and directly with friends and family. Thanks for your support!
+ Read More
Update 5
Posted by Travis Dubreuil
2 months ago
   Share
2
2
THANK YOU all again so much for helping us reach our stretch goal of $65,000! We will keep increasing our goal as new donations come in to help keep the memorial and cemetery maintained for many years to come.
+ Read More
Update 4
Posted by Travis Dubreuil
2 months ago
   Share
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

We reached our $50,000 goal and can't thank you all enough. We raised our stretch goal to $65,000 to help set up a long term fund to keep the memorial and cemetery maintained. More updates to come soon. Thank you all so much!
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Update 3
Posted by Travis Dubreuil
9 months ago
   Share
1
1
Hi Everyone. I just had the great pleasure and honor of meeting Ruth! She is so excited to be able to make this monument happen. We are now in the planning stages and will keep you up to date as things start to happen. Here is a video from her to you:
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Update 2
Posted by Travis Dubreuil
10 months ago
   Share
6
6
Hi everyone! I just got off the phone with Ruth. She is so happy and grateful for all the support. She said "I am so thankful from the very bottom of my heart. I never ever thought this was going to happen." We are now in the early planning stages of the memorial. Thank you all again! More updates to come soon.
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update
Anthony Lindsey
10 months ago

I don't know if this request will be noticed elsewhere (I commented on the newspaper article, like so many). I totally respect that the monument will contain everything planned beforehand, including the names of those good men that Ruth directly supported. I also request that a coda be added, similar to this wording: THIS MEMORIAL IS ALSO DEDICATED TO ALL OF THE OTHER PEOPLE WHO DIED ALONE, AFRAID, UNLOVED AND UNREMEMBERED. They deserve to be included, too. There were so many!

+ Read More
David Robert Kabina
10 months ago

When I discovered this about an hour ago, it was at $19k. It has now exceeded $20k. I am an unemployed military veteran and going to school full time, so I can't personally donate at the moment but I'll definitely get my parents and family to. I'll donate by spreading the word. At least before I have to stop procrastinating on reddit (which lead me to this heartbreaking yet heartwarming story) and go back to my nursing homework and studies. BTW, I have dried up tears all over my face. Never forget.

+ Read More
Walter Jaeckle
10 months ago

In these turbulent times its is important to recognize who the true saviors of decency and humanity are.

+ Read More
Bruce Reynolds
9 months ago

I donate in honor of my mother Shirley Reynolds. She loved me unconditionally, fiercely, unapologeticly, abundantly and lavishly. She gave me the ability to breathe and the capibility to love. These amazing creatures are rare. My mother was one and Ruth is one. I was placed in my mothers arms by the universe and will forever be thankful. Love has made all the difference....

+ Read More
Tawnya Keeney
10 months ago
9
9

I lost so many friends and coworkers to AIDS in the late 80's/early 90's. Reading this article brought me to tears remembering the horrors all too well. Ruth, you have my respect and gratitude for all your kindness. Thank you for all you've done and continue to do. You have surely left a loving legacy. I will be donating the gofundme and wish you nothing but the best!

+ Read More
Lynn Eyermann
10 months ago
7
7

I have donated to honor the memory of my very dear friend, Bill Bamford, who died from AIDS complications in 1995. His Dixieland Jazz funeral was the first (and the last) that I was ever a part of ... I keep that memory close in my heart. I still miss my best buddy. Thank you for what you did, and continue to do, for those who were abandoned. ♥

+ Read More
Barbara Keeping
2 months ago
3
3

This is my story. I have a Sister! We were working together and didn't know it! What a wonderful surprise...I need to connect with you Sister Ruth!✌

+ Read More
Jennifer Corwin
10 months ago
3
3

The goal has been met! yay! Can we get an update? Will Ms. Ruth be involved in the memorial planning? Is there a design for the memorial already? Will the money simply be giving to Ms. Ruth so she can commission a memorial herself? Amazing!

+ Read More
Barb Pople
9 months ago
2
2

I'm in tears here. I literally have $5.13 to my name right now and I'd give it to Ruth if I didn't have to eat. It's my fervent prayer to Goddess that this can grow beyond the memorial and Ruth's medical bills to so much more! What a wonderful loving legacy you are giving everyone you helped.

+ Read More
Martin Miller
10 months ago
2
2

When i discovered this 2 days ago, it was at 5k. I'm so happy to see that the goal was met! I think though that more money should be raised for a grander memorial. Such an amazing cause!

+ Read More
Joe Sorce
5 months ago
1
1

Just wanted to say. I have over 300,000 fans on my DJ page. I have put the word out there about this wonderful lady, and I hope it will drive enough donations to get this goal reached! Travis if there is anything I can do for you, please contact me. I am so inspired by this lady. Gives me hope in humanity again. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to the very worthy cause!

+ Read More
Amy Newman
10 months ago
1
1

Thank you Ruth for following your heart and doing what is right. These men deserve to be remembered. It would be wonderful if there was an online memorial list of the unmarked graves, even before a physical memorial is made. Perhaps the Melting Pot Genealogical Society would add them to this grave marker list for Files Cemetery http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~armpgs/files-cemetery.html An online list could include details which might not fit on a memorial plaque: names, dates of birth and death, place of death and their grave plot location. Visiting friends, genealogists and future historians will greatly appreciate it!

+ Read More
Terry Patrick
9 months ago

I found this page only because I recently read an article about Ruth, her work and the precious people who've been touched by her. In all honesty, upon reading her story published in a newspaper article in July of last year, I was attempting to contact her to see if I could be of any assistance in making this happen. I am happy to see it is well underway. Thank you Ruth, thank you donors.

+ Read More
James Peron
2 months ago

If $25,000 was the original goal and it was achieved 7 months ago, where is the monument? What progress has been made on it? Are there drawings or some sort of rendering of what it would be. And, if $25,000 was needed originally why was that changed to $50,000 then to $65,000 and then to $75,000. This sends up red flags. The original project was a worthwhile project and I have promoted it, but now I'm wondering why the only progress shown has been to keep increasing the fundraising demands.

+ Read More
Alice Hall
2 months ago

likeSᴛᴀʀᴛ ᴡᴏʀᴋɪɴɢ ғʀᴏᴍ ʜᴏᴍᴇ! Gʀᴇᴀᴛ ᴊᴏʙ ғᴏʀ sᴛᴜᴅᴇɴᴛs, sᴛᴀʏ-ᴀᴛ-ʜᴏᴍᴇ ᴍᴏᴍs ᴏʀ ᴀɴʏᴏɴᴇ ɴᴇᴇᴅɪɴɢ ᴀɴ ᴇxᴛʀᴀ ɪɴᴄᴏᴍᴇ... Yᴏᴜ ᴏɴʟʏ ɴᴇᴇᴅ ᴀ ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜᴛᴇʀ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀ ʀᴇʟɪᴀʙʟᴇ ɪɴᴛᴇʀɴᴇᴛ ᴄᴏɴɴᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ... Mᴀᴋᴇ $90 ʜᴏᴜʀʟʏ ᴀɴᴅ ᴜᴘ ᴛᴏ $15000 ᴀ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ ʙʏ ғᴏʟʟᴏᴡɪɴɢ ʟɪɴᴋ ᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴛᴛᴏᴍ ᴀɴᴅ sɪɢɴɪɴɢ ᴜᴘ... Yᴏᴜ ᴄᴀɴ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ʏᴏᴜʀ ғɪʀsᴛ ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ʙʏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴇɴᴅ ᴏғ ᴛʜɪs ᴡᴇᴇᴋ... Go to the web :: ═►WWW.joinpay40.C­O­M

+ Read More
Clare Horgan
2 months ago

When I saw the devastation that AIDS did to the gay community of London and how the public reacted it made me so sad. People like Ruth were a beacon of hope, I remember when Princess Diana made a public point of shaking an HIV patients hand on a hospital visit it really started to turn things around.

+ Read More
Lisa Godwin
2 months ago

Such a hero. An angel on this earth. I wish everyone knew this story. God bless you Ruth.

+ Read More
Ginny Carlson
3 months ago

to many friends lost to this terrible disease glad there was also some very loving folks to ease the pain, thank you Ruth and so many others

+ Read More
Randy Medenwald
5 months ago

If you need additional PR support in promoting this, please contact me. I have some connections with the press.

+ Read More
Randy Medenwald
5 months ago

What is the status of the memorial? Can you still build it if you don't meet the $50,000 goal?

+ Read More

$69,074 of $75k goal

Raised by 1,807 people in 16 months
Created November 16, 2015
Travis Dubreuil  
on behalf of Ruth Burks
GF
$50
Guerra Family
18 days ago

On behalf of our family with deepest gratitude to Ruth for the loving example she set for us.

EH
$25
Elizabeth Hupp
28 days ago
CE
$20
Christopher Ellsworth
1 month ago
$10
Jerri Cooper
1 month ago
CR
$25
Catherine C Ross
1 month ago
$100
Anonymous
1 month ago
KW
$75
Katrina & Joel Waltenbaugh
1 month ago
1
1

I read about this online from an Arkansas newspaper. Instead of a Valentine night out, we are pleased to support this cause

$25
Ken Riley
1 month ago

In gratitude, memory, and thanks

$20
Anonymous
1 month ago
LR
$25
Lauren Randolph
1 month ago
Anthony Lindsey
10 months ago

I don't know if this request will be noticed elsewhere (I commented on the newspaper article, like so many). I totally respect that the monument will contain everything planned beforehand, including the names of those good men that Ruth directly supported. I also request that a coda be added, similar to this wording: THIS MEMORIAL IS ALSO DEDICATED TO ALL OF THE OTHER PEOPLE WHO DIED ALONE, AFRAID, UNLOVED AND UNREMEMBERED. They deserve to be included, too. There were so many!

+ Read More
David Robert Kabina
10 months ago

When I discovered this about an hour ago, it was at $19k. It has now exceeded $20k. I am an unemployed military veteran and going to school full time, so I can't personally donate at the moment but I'll definitely get my parents and family to. I'll donate by spreading the word. At least before I have to stop procrastinating on reddit (which lead me to this heartbreaking yet heartwarming story) and go back to my nursing homework and studies. BTW, I have dried up tears all over my face. Never forget.

+ Read More
Walter Jaeckle
10 months ago

In these turbulent times its is important to recognize who the true saviors of decency and humanity are.

+ Read More
Bruce Reynolds
9 months ago

I donate in honor of my mother Shirley Reynolds. She loved me unconditionally, fiercely, unapologeticly, abundantly and lavishly. She gave me the ability to breathe and the capibility to love. These amazing creatures are rare. My mother was one and Ruth is one. I was placed in my mothers arms by the universe and will forever be thankful. Love has made all the difference....

+ Read More
Tawnya Keeney
10 months ago
9
9

I lost so many friends and coworkers to AIDS in the late 80's/early 90's. Reading this article brought me to tears remembering the horrors all too well. Ruth, you have my respect and gratitude for all your kindness. Thank you for all you've done and continue to do. You have surely left a loving legacy. I will be donating the gofundme and wish you nothing but the best!

+ Read More
Lynn Eyermann
10 months ago
7
7

I have donated to honor the memory of my very dear friend, Bill Bamford, who died from AIDS complications in 1995. His Dixieland Jazz funeral was the first (and the last) that I was ever a part of ... I keep that memory close in my heart. I still miss my best buddy. Thank you for what you did, and continue to do, for those who were abandoned. ♥

+ Read More
Barbara Keeping
2 months ago
3
3

This is my story. I have a Sister! We were working together and didn't know it! What a wonderful surprise...I need to connect with you Sister Ruth!✌

+ Read More
Jennifer Corwin
10 months ago
3
3

The goal has been met! yay! Can we get an update? Will Ms. Ruth be involved in the memorial planning? Is there a design for the memorial already? Will the money simply be giving to Ms. Ruth so she can commission a memorial herself? Amazing!

+ Read More
Barb Pople
9 months ago
2
2

I'm in tears here. I literally have $5.13 to my name right now and I'd give it to Ruth if I didn't have to eat. It's my fervent prayer to Goddess that this can grow beyond the memorial and Ruth's medical bills to so much more! What a wonderful loving legacy you are giving everyone you helped.

+ Read More
Martin Miller
10 months ago
2
2

When i discovered this 2 days ago, it was at 5k. I'm so happy to see that the goal was met! I think though that more money should be raised for a grander memorial. Such an amazing cause!

+ Read More
Joe Sorce
5 months ago
1
1

Just wanted to say. I have over 300,000 fans on my DJ page. I have put the word out there about this wonderful lady, and I hope it will drive enough donations to get this goal reached! Travis if there is anything I can do for you, please contact me. I am so inspired by this lady. Gives me hope in humanity again. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to the very worthy cause!

+ Read More
Amy Newman
10 months ago
1
1

Thank you Ruth for following your heart and doing what is right. These men deserve to be remembered. It would be wonderful if there was an online memorial list of the unmarked graves, even before a physical memorial is made. Perhaps the Melting Pot Genealogical Society would add them to this grave marker list for Files Cemetery http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~armpgs/files-cemetery.html An online list could include details which might not fit on a memorial plaque: names, dates of birth and death, place of death and their grave plot location. Visiting friends, genealogists and future historians will greatly appreciate it!

+ Read More
Terry Patrick
9 months ago

I found this page only because I recently read an article about Ruth, her work and the precious people who've been touched by her. In all honesty, upon reading her story published in a newspaper article in July of last year, I was attempting to contact her to see if I could be of any assistance in making this happen. I am happy to see it is well underway. Thank you Ruth, thank you donors.

+ Read More
James Peron
2 months ago

If $25,000 was the original goal and it was achieved 7 months ago, where is the monument? What progress has been made on it? Are there drawings or some sort of rendering of what it would be. And, if $25,000 was needed originally why was that changed to $50,000 then to $65,000 and then to $75,000. This sends up red flags. The original project was a worthwhile project and I have promoted it, but now I'm wondering why the only progress shown has been to keep increasing the fundraising demands.

+ Read More
Alice Hall
2 months ago

likeSᴛᴀʀᴛ ᴡᴏʀᴋɪɴɢ ғʀᴏᴍ ʜᴏᴍᴇ! Gʀᴇᴀᴛ ᴊᴏʙ ғᴏʀ sᴛᴜᴅᴇɴᴛs, sᴛᴀʏ-ᴀᴛ-ʜᴏᴍᴇ ᴍᴏᴍs ᴏʀ ᴀɴʏᴏɴᴇ ɴᴇᴇᴅɪɴɢ ᴀɴ ᴇxᴛʀᴀ ɪɴᴄᴏᴍᴇ... Yᴏᴜ ᴏɴʟʏ ɴᴇᴇᴅ ᴀ ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴜᴛᴇʀ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀ ʀᴇʟɪᴀʙʟᴇ ɪɴᴛᴇʀɴᴇᴛ ᴄᴏɴɴᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ... Mᴀᴋᴇ $90 ʜᴏᴜʀʟʏ ᴀɴᴅ ᴜᴘ ᴛᴏ $15000 ᴀ ᴍᴏɴᴛʜ ʙʏ ғᴏʟʟᴏᴡɪɴɢ ʟɪɴᴋ ᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴛᴛᴏᴍ ᴀɴᴅ sɪɢɴɪɴɢ ᴜᴘ... Yᴏᴜ ᴄᴀɴ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ʏᴏᴜʀ ғɪʀsᴛ ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ʙʏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴇɴᴅ ᴏғ ᴛʜɪs ᴡᴇᴇᴋ... Go to the web :: ═►WWW.joinpay40.C­O­M

+ Read More
Clare Horgan
2 months ago

When I saw the devastation that AIDS did to the gay community of London and how the public reacted it made me so sad. People like Ruth were a beacon of hope, I remember when Princess Diana made a public point of shaking an HIV patients hand on a hospital visit it really started to turn things around.

+ Read More
Lisa Godwin
2 months ago

Such a hero. An angel on this earth. I wish everyone knew this story. God bless you Ruth.

+ Read More
Ginny Carlson
3 months ago

to many friends lost to this terrible disease glad there was also some very loving folks to ease the pain, thank you Ruth and so many others

+ Read More
Randy Medenwald
5 months ago

If you need additional PR support in promoting this, please contact me. I have some connections with the press.

+ Read More
Randy Medenwald
5 months ago

What is the status of the memorial? Can you still build it if you don't meet the $50,000 goal?

+ Read More
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