Temperatures were chilly, and the skies threatened rain as families and friends gathered on the grass in front of the Stewart Park stage Saturday, Oct. 1 to remember the lives lost and affected by the shooting on Umpqua Community College’s campus just one year prior.
Several of the area’s religious leaders offered prayers and words of comfort to the gathered crowd, which was smaller than last year’s original gathering. Event coordinator Pastor Grant Goins from Douglas County Evangelical attended last year’s vigil as well, however. “We brought in trauma specialists to help,” said Goins. “We build relationships across the different disciplines—mental health, first responders. It’s been a great experience building relationships with people at the college and on the board. We just tried to be of service where we can.” In attendance were two of the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort dogs offering furry support to those who needed it.
The names of the nine were read followed by a moment of silence. The event concluded with a vocal trio who led the group in singing “Amazing Grace,” while some students from UCC lit the candles symbolizing light and hope in the darkness. The words written on the candle holders summed up the emotion of the night: “Seek the light, Share the light.”