Remembering Lives Lost - A Floating Candlelight Vigil

Nov 9, 2021 | by Glynis Eckert

The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center gathered to celebrate the lives of those who have passed away during the pandemic. Kroc Center members were encouraged to share the names of loved ones along with a short sentiment online. The staff of the Kroc Center read the names and sentiments while a candle was lit and placed into the recreation pool.

Andrea Sanford, Athletics and Member Services Director for the center, said that starting in the height of the pandemic, staff began picking up their phone and calling regular members who they would usually see weekly. “At first we wanted to just to say, ‘Hi, we miss you, are you okay?’ Then we started hearing of those informing us of a member who had passed. I remember thinking, this is going to be tough. This is going to be hard, but we have to honor those who we didn’t get to tell a proper goodbye.”

There were over 100 names and sentiments submitted to be honored. For Salvation Army Major Rob Birks, it was a chance to begin the healing from two years of tragedy. “The last 18 months have been hard for everybody, but the seniors especially,” Birks said. “Many of our senior members have been coming here for a long time. This is their socialization, for many, this is their family.” Birks said when the pandemic shuttered the Kroc Center’s doors, many became isolated. When they lost loved ones, they weren’t able to process through the pain.

“We’re hoping this is the pause in the pandemic to think about who we have lost, we don’t think it’s going to be a cure all,” Birks said. “This is a time to acknowledge them, honor them and come alongside those who have lost them and share hope and healing.”

The event was a quiet opportunity for family members and friends to come together, light a candle, and share a moment of reflection on their loved ones who have passed away.

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