WVSOM students hold candlelight vigil for CT victims - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

WVSOM students hold candlelight vigil for CT victims

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Image courtesy of Pat Bauserman, WVSOM photographer Image courtesy of Pat Bauserman, WVSOM photographer

LEWISBURG, W. VA (WVVA)-- The people of Lewisburg and the surrounding community were invited to attend a candlelight vigil Tuesday in support of the families affected by the tragedy in Connecticut.

Students at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine took time out of their busy end-of-semester schedules to organize the event.

One of their classmates, Courtney Brunton, is from Newtown. She has since returned to Connecticut to comfort her grieving community.

She told WVVA over the phone that the families there are feeling the "overwhelming support" from across the country and even from the Two Virginias, and "there are no words" to describe what that means to them. She said if she could share anything, it would be to continue the thoughts and prayers the families desperately need.

In a statement read at the vigil, Courtney wrote, "...Tonight you gather together as a community; a loving, tight-knit, endearing community. This is something I adore about our school and the town of Lewisburg. As you gather tonight, please lean on one another as we have in the past in times of difficulty and tribulation. Pray and hope and love and value one another. This is what my hometown is really all about. Not shootings. Not tragedies. My town is much like Lewisburg, and that is how they would want to be represented. So tonight, as we mourn the loss of so many young and innocent lives, please focus on valuing the people beside you..."

Senator Manchin also wrote to the crowd, and his full statement was read at the vigil.

He wrote, "... It is my privilege to extend greetings to the students and staff of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, as well as the residents of Lewisburg and Greenbrier County.

What happened in Newtown has deeply affected this entire nation and my thoughts and prayers are with the families in that Connecticut community. It is my hope that they are able to find strength and support in one another during this difficult time. Let us put politics aside and grieve together. As West Virginians, we have a strong bond that encourages us to help our neighbors in times of need, and I am proud of the outpouring of support that has been shown from our state. Each of you here tonight are showing your support to the families and residents in Newtown..."

According to Andrew Nackashi, one of the students organizing the vigil, more than $950 was raised Tuesday night and that money will go directly to the Connecticut families who were affected by the massacre.

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