Those gathered at the 11th annual Carol McFeggan Homicide Victim Memorial Service, at Riverside Community Church on Wednesday, struggled to fight back tears as they lit candles next to pictures of murdered loved ones. Bagpipes were played as they released purple balloons released into the sky to pay respects.
McFeggan was the school secretary at Rockford’s Auburn High School. She was murdered by her husband Thomas McFeggan in 2009.
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato says, “For those who have gone through tragic times, this is a real opportunity to share with others who have had unfortunate similar circumstances.”
Don and Rosemary Wright, who attend the memorial service every year, following the murder of their son Brandon Wright, who was shot and killed in 2011. Luis Eduardo Anaya was arrested in Mexico last year for the murder. The family has been going to status hearings, waiting for trial to begin.
Donald Wright says, “Preparation for it can be traumatic because you don’t know exactly what will happen. It’s just a reminder, but its part of our new journey.”
Wright says he’s developed a bond with many of the grieving families who attended the service, and wants those still searching for their loved ones killers to not lose faith.
He says “With the apprehension of our person, people have said that they’re so happy that he was found because it reminds them that there’s still hope.”
He’s turning his attention to becoming a community activist, in hopes to prevent future families from having to bury a son or daughter due to gun violence.
He adds, “We never want to see someone come down the street that we have. That’s something we are going to have to live with for the rest of our lives.”