MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO) – Local families remembered loved ones lost too soon during the 17th annual Carol McFeggan Homicide Victim Memorial on Wednesday night.
“When I just see all the people and we hug each other, that hug means so much,” said Rosie Blake Thomas, whose son was killed in 2016. “Once you start talking to each other, we can talk about court, we can talk about our children, we can talk about what we’re going through.”
Victim Service Providers with the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office organize the event each year. The idea is to show strength in numbers for families who may otherwise.
“These are people’s loved ones that are being taken away, and they need all our support and help. This is one great way the community can come together and show these families that we care,” said Teresa Lazzerini, a Victim Services Provider.
Names of the victims were read aloud, and loved ones could light a candle in their honor.
“At first, when I came, I was so broken and hurt and everything, and then when I started talking to these people. They helped me grow,” said Thomas. “They watered me, you know? Because this is the hardest group to be in, you never want to be in it. But we’re family, we’re family.”
Thomas said she has been attending the memorial service every year since her son died. For her, it is therapeutic to be part of a group that truly understands what she deals with on a daily basis.
When one falls down, we pick them up, and when the other one falls down, we pick them up,” Thomas said. “We do not have good days all days, but when the days are good, they are good.”
Each family were given roses to take home following the memorial service.