St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Roseburg dedicated their new memorial Friday, Sept. 30 to those who lost their lives Oct. 1, 2015. The family of Lucero Alcaraz, one of the students who died in Snyder 15, attended the commemoration service.
The Most Rev. Alexander Sample, archbishop of Portland, spoke at the event about how Roseburg had not been forgotten and won’t be forgotten: “We as a community won’t just move on. We won’t just forget about what happened. We will always remember what happened that day.”
The memorial consists of two layers with a remembrance plaque for the UCC students and a professor who lost their lives and the Hail Mary prayer just above it. A statue of Mary sits atop the layers. On Friday, an arrangement of flowers and candles surrounded the memorial along with photographs of the nine who died.
Between 75 to 100 people attended the commemoration. Father José Manuel Campos García welcomed everyone followed by Roseburg Police Chief Jim Burge who talked about the lives that will be missed. Burge also explained how proud he was of the community of Roseburg. He said that, although the community was in shock, they helped without hesitation in any way possible.
The memorial service was then followed by a Mass held at the church with dinner afterwards which everyone was invited to.
The foundation for the memorial was laid by Darby Guido, owner of Guido Construction. Guido said that he laid out the “overall footprint” for the memorial with help from Pynch Construction and Victory Builders. Guido said that Jim Pynch built the carpentry forms for the foundation and Victory Builders built the upper section. Eventually nearly 60 volunteers helped with the commemoration event.
Originally, St. Joseph’s received a gift certificate from a Cathedral in Portland to plant a tree in remembrance of the lives lost. Father Manuel said that he wanted to do something more memorable. He and his staff met every couple weeks or so to discuss what could be done to help the community heal, and eventually Manuel asked Guido to help build the memorial.
Manuel thought that the community bonded together and became stronger through the events of last year. “New friendships and relationships have been established and now more than ever the community has come together,” Manuel said.