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Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Candlelight Vigil a chance to show support for those who've lost someone to violent crime

The year-end holiday season brings out the best in most people. They are to have the blessings of the season bestowed upon them.
But the time of year brings out the worst in others, causing heartbreak, pain and suffering. Among those who suffer most are families and friends of victims of violent crimes.
Each year at this time, the safety forces of Lake and Geauga counties host a Candlelight Vigil to offer help and comfort to families and friends of those who have lost their lives as a result of homicides, drunken driving crashes or other crimes of violence.
This year, the vigil will be held Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. Cyprian Church, 4223 Middle Ridge Road in Perry Township.
The person I can always count on to bring this annual ritual to my attention is my longtime friend, Arnold Stanko, former chief of police in Waite Hill Village who is now chief in Middlefield in Geauga County.
This is a cause that is close to the heart of Arnie, and nothing gives him greater satisfaction than to have the word spread far and wide so that as many people as possible will be aware of the event and possibly make plans to attend.
I can never turn down a request from a good friend, so this is my humble effort to aid in the cause and help make the event a success.
“It’s that time of year,” Arnie wrote, “and I believe this is the 20th year for our Candlelight Vigil. I am hoping you will help spread the word as you have done in the past. I certainly appreciate your continued support for this annual vigil.”
Consider it done, Arnie.
“The Lake and Geauga county safety forces recognize that as the holiday season approaches, it may be a particularly difficult time for families and friends who have lost loved ones to violent crimes,” he added.
“We believe they may find it comforting to join with others who have experienced similar personal tragedies and to honor their loves ones at this time of year.”
The Candlelight Vigil includes an honor guard with a bagpiper, musical selections, memorial tributes by family members and friends plus members of safety forces with the sharing of photographs of loved ones.
Safety forces will assist at a candle-lighting ceremony. The program will conclude with a procession to the “Tree of Hope,” where participants may honor their loved ones by placing ornaments of remembrance.
The Painesville Township Fire Department women’s auxiliary will provide refreshment of cookies and hot beverages following the ceremony in the downstairs Alexander Hall.
Anyone wishing more information may call Stanko at 440-632-5224.
The larger the crowd, the greater the amount of appreciation the safety forces of the two counties will feel as their reward for staging the vigil.
To put it another way, your presence at the vigil on Thursday will not only make the project more worthwhile, but will also give greater feelings of comfort to the survivors of the victims.
So you can be an important part of the atmosphere of remembrance.
Last week, I mentioned four colleges that had produced both a Super Bowl starting quarterback and a U.S. president.
Following the Stanford and Miami text, it read, “from Michigan are Tom Brady and Gerald Ford and from the Naval Academy are Roger Staubach and Gerald Ford.
There’s obviously something wrong here. To conclude the answer, I had typed in “Jimmy Carter.” Everyone knows he is a graduate of the Naval Academy. But the computer repeated the name of Gerald Ford.
I can’t figure out what went wrong. But computers do funny things if you’re not careful. Remember, Brady and Ford are the Michigan link, and Staubach and Carter are the Navy connection.
And it isn’t even my computer! I just use it when Robin Palmer isn’t here.
If she trained it not to type “Jimmy Carter,” I’ll have to speak to her about that. He is, after all, the only president who ever invited me to the White House for lunch.
Relax. It wasn’t a big deal. There were 30 editors from Ohio and we had to go through the chow line and make our own sandwiches.


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