When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Clay E. Gailey Park, Clermont
Clermont City Councilwoman Debra Armour is organizing a vigil to mourn the victims of Friday’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., because despite the distance, Hall County residents are feeling some of the pain felt by people in that community.
“I was just so despondent,” Armour said. “I was feeling so dismayed I didn’t know what to do.”
The prayer vigil is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at the Clay E. Gailey Park in Clermont. It’s open to all religions and all residents. Armour and other fellow council members said they believed it would help members of the local community deal with the sadness they feel and that the devastated New England town will feel the power of the prayers.
“My wife’s been crying for two or three days,” Clermont Councilman John Brady said.
A gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday morning and shot 20 first-graders and six adults. The shooter, identified by police and in media reports as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, is also suspected of killing his mother. He apparently took his own life at the scene.
Armour has three children and three grandchildren, including an 8-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old grandson. She relates to the parents and children affected in Connecticut, she said.
“I was feeling like ‘Thank God it wasn’t our children or our community,’ but I felt horrible because it was somebody else’s children and somebody else’s community.”
Clermont resident Emily Harper spent Sunday afternoon planning the vigil with Armour and baking cupcakes with Armour and her young daughter. Harper’s children are grown, but she said she was thinking of them, especially now.
“Everybody’s holding their kids closer,” Harper said. “It’s just beyond horrible what has happened.”
They’ve notified all the surrounding churches, Harper said, and are counting on word of mouth to reach many members of the community. They’ll buy candles and are in contact with several preachers who are likely to speak at the event.
“I believe in the power of prayer,” Armour said. “I believe it would help our community and those poor people would feel our prayers.”
Clermont Mayor James Nix said he OK’d the vigil, but said he is not involved with it.