Vigil held in Roanoke to honor those lost to violence

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 10:34 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The holiday season can be difficult for many, especially those who have lost loved ones to violence. Monday night, the Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office wanted to take the time to make sure each and every one of these people are remembered.

“Time goes by, life doesn’t stop, so we cannot stop in the midst of our pain. We must continue to move forward, continue to grow and thrive and do it in the memory of our loved one,” said Amy Girty, whose son Markel was killed in 2018.

Families impacted by violence shared memories of their loved ones.

“He said, mama, you look nice, I said thank you. He came and kissed me because I was getting ready to leave and that’s how I remember him,” said the mother of Samuel Dickerson, who was killed earlier this year.

The Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office held “The Grace to Remember” vigil, to make sure each and every person killed is never forgotten.

“We don’t ever want us to get so caught up in the hustle-bustle of the season, that our loved ones are forgotten, their kids are forgotten. So we put this community event on just to show to them as a law enforcement community we still care,” said Sheriff Antonio Hash.

It was special for these families to see the community cares just as much as they do.

“It makes us feel so much happier and glad that somebody cares. Because we will never forget, but when the community cares, when Sheriff Hash does what he does, that just makes us feel so much better,” said Rita Joyce, the co-founder of FEDUP.

Following the vigil, families placed ornaments with their loved ones on RCSO’s remembrance tree. They will also take the ornaments home this holiday season.

We also asked Sheriff Hash how the Roanoke community moves forward in preventing violence across the city. Hash said people need to find a way to cope, and communicate so a situation doesn’t escalate. He said there are plenty of resources around the city that can help anyone in need.

”We shouldn’t have to put a $10,000 reward out for somebody to say, hey, speak up. If you hear something, see something, say something, because that’s the only way that these families get justice. But hurt people, hurt people, so they need help and there are resources and avenues in our community that we can get to them if they’ll receive the help,” said Hash.

Hash added it takes all of us to rid our city of violence.