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After Boy Drowns, "Little Red Mailbox" Goes Up For Message Of Hope

CHICAGO (CBS) -- New Hampshire boy Wesley Belisle was vacationing in North Carolina with his family last month when tragedy struck.

CBS affiliate WTKR reports the 4-year-old was walking along the beach in Kitty Hawk with his mother when a sudden wave crashed over him.

Wesley was swept away and lost in the ocean.

It took the Coast Guard, along with multiple other agencies, hours to find Wesley. His body was located on Carova Beach by the Currituck County Sheriff's Office.

His family made arrangements to transport Wesley back to their home in New Hampshire.

The tragedy touched many people in the Outer Banks, and one Kitty Hawk resident thought of a way to help the community heal.

A month after the deadly accident, a "Little Red Mailbox" was seen perched at a beach entrance. Its purpose: to give people a place to write messages of hope and love, and for others to read the uplifting notes.

Little Red Mailbox is a project that was founded by Eddie and Sue Goodrich, along with the town of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Sue Goodrich thought of the idea when she needed hope after losing her mother.

"She remembered her mother telling her, 'Sue, if you ever feel sad, help someone else out.' This was when she decided to call the town and ask to place the first 'Little Red Mailbox, Leave a Note of Hope' in Kill Devil Hills," the Little Red Mailbox website states.

Red Mailbox
After a New Hampshire boy vacationing in the Outer Banks drowned, this community set up a "Little Red Mailbox" to send and receive messages of hope. (Credit: WTKR)

Kitty Hawk resident Deborah Mennicucci had heard of the Little Red Mailbox in Kill Devil Hills and though it was just what her community needed.

After getting permission from the town, Mennicucci commissioned a Little Red Mailbox with orange angel wings -- Wesley's favorite color.

The front of the bright red box has simple instructions written on it: leave a note of hope. Inside the mailbox are a couple of journals where passersby can leave or read uplifting messages.

"Welcoming this Little Red Mailbox will be the hope we need to get us back and happy, and to remembering this can be a great place to live. Dangerous, but a great place to live," Mennicucci told WTKR.

Sue Goodrich, a mother of two, was also touched by Wesley's story. "I've been in the ocean holding their hands and a wave will come back, knock us all down," she told the station.

"You lose the grasp, but this time they lost it forever. So everybody has that pain in their heart and for that little boy."

Wesley Belisle
(Credit: WTKR)

The Public Works Department came to Mennicucci's house to pick up the new mailbox and installed it at a beach entrance.

The town had a dedication ceremony for Wesley's Little Red Mailbox, with the mayor, fire department and EMS crew in attendance.

"I'm excited to see those journals get filled. To save them and hold them close to my heart. This is our community's mailbox," said Mennicucci.

She plans on keep checking in on the mailbox and scanning the uplifting entries.


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