MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — Emotions were high at Riverside Community Church Wednesday evening as residents remembered their loved ones.
The 19th Annual “Carol McFeggan Homicide Victim Memorial Service” gave those grieving a chance to come together, as many of them might have felt alone.
“This is the club that nobody wants to be a part of before, the people who are part of this club, to be able to come together and share memories of their loved ones,” said Robert and Mary Sargent, aunt and uncle of Treesa Wiley.
The Sargents lit a candle in memory of Wiley. They, like many others from Winnebago County, gathered to honor their loved ones.
“She was a beacon of light in our family,” they said. “She was always happy, smiling, and we couldn’t do anything but to come out and light a candle for her, to let her know that the family is still thinking of her.”
Wiley was killed in a home invasion seven years ago.
The event is named after Carol McFeggan, founder of the Rockford Homicide Support Group. She began this event almost 20 years ago.
“I think it’s something that’s a good healing for the community,” the Sargents said. “For the victims of violent, violent crimes and tragedies, I think it’s one of the best events Rockford has, unfortunately.”
“I think them coming here and leaning on other people who have lost someone, it could kind of show they’re not alone,” said victim advocate Savannah Myers. “It kind of gives them something to look forward to. They know that there’s going to be people here that understand what they’re going through.”
More than 25 victims were remembered. Each name was someone’s mom or dad, aunt or uncle, brother or sister and friend or mentor.
“This community is willing to help, you know, to reach out,” the Sargents said. “Maybe not necessarily every time be able to help them monetarily wise, but sometimes a person just needs to know somebody is there to sit with them.”
The Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office also provides support resources.