TROY — Miami County Victim Witness held its annual “candlelight service of remembrance and hope” on Monday to allow those who are and have been served by the organization to honor lost loved ones.
Provided by the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office and Miami County Prosecutor Anthony Kendell, the ceremony takes place each year at the First Lutheran Church in Troy. According to MCVW program director Carmen Barhorst, the service was first held in the late 1980s.
“Everyone gathered here today has been affected by loss in one way or another, so we want you to know you’re in our thoughts and our prayers,” Barhorst said. “From everybody in the Prosecutor’s Office and Victim Witness, we would like to wish you happy holidays and thank you for coming out tonight.”
Miami County Commissioner and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge Chaplin Greg Simmons opened and closed the ceremony with prayer, giving a statement of support to MCVW, as well.
“I think Victim Witness does such a great job putting this on and offering the support and encouragement that we want to give to you tonight,” Simmons said.
Simmons also shared a short poem about death and loss, titled “The Mask,” by Ellie Nazza.
“I know it is hard, and I know a lot of you still have those nightmares and still have those cries, but I would like to go before God today and just ask him to reach down and touch you,” Simmons said before leading a prayer.
Words of support were provided by Kendell, who acknowledged the struggles that come hand-in-hand with this time of year for those who are grieving.
“The holidays are upon us, people are out shopping and celebrating, and I just know from being in this position for as long as I have and going through some of the things I’ve gone through with some of you that this is a very difficult time of year,” he said. “We come together at this time to remember and to give thanks for your loved ones.”
Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak shared a statistic from the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children that states, each year, approximately 15,000 men, women and children are victims of criminal homicide in the United States.
“As staggering as that figure is, it does not begin to indicate the toll of suffering that homicide extracts. If one estimates that each of its victims is survived by a minimum of three loved ones for whom the violent death will produce deep and bitter grief, the annual casualty rate escalates to over 45,000 individuals,” Duchak said.
“There are no words I, or anyone else, can say that will ever give you peace for your loss, not to mention this time of year makes this loss so much harder to bear. I’d like to use this opportunity to let all of you know just how important each of you are to those of us in the law enforcement family and the strength that each of you give us to keep going and to be able to do what we do.”
According to Barhorst, the MCVW organization is called by law enforcement to provide support to families and loved ones of those lost to not only homicide, but also instances of car accidents, suicides, overdoses, and even natural deaths in some cases.
Families in attendance Monday lit candles in their loved ones’ memories, and Del Braund provided a bagpipe performance of “Amazing Grace.”
Reach the writer at email@example.com. © 2019 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.