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A community grieves

Candlelight vigil held for students killed,injured in Northway crash

Attendees lit candles and shared stories at a vigil held Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Shenendehowa.

Attendees lit candles and shared stories at a vigil held Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Shenendehowa. Photo by Marci Revette.

— Robinson encouraged the crowd to remember how fragile life can be.

“This tragic event has left us all with heavy hearts,” he said in part. “It causes us to question our faith. But moments like this serve as a reminder of how fragile life is. Our lives are marked by footprints on the sands of time.

“Let their lives not be in vain,” he continued. “Let us rekindle our own faith. We should let peace and friendship be our shelter from life’s storms, because inevitably we will be strengthened by this event and the legacy of Deanna Rivers and Chris Stewart will persist in our hearts and minds forever.”

Brian Clawson, who coaches Shen football, announced that Stewart’s number, 69, and Rivers’s number, 19, would be retired. He also said scholarships would be established in their memory.

Perhaps the most poignant moment in an evening wrought with emotions came when Nikki Wind, Bailey Wind’s sister, read an email message she had sent. Bailey, who was Chris’ girlfriend, thanked everyone for their prayers and urged people to never drink and drive.

“I loved Chris with all my heart and I don’t know what I will do without him,” wrote Bailey. “Number 69 is forever mine.”

Patricia Hardy and Matthew Hardy, Matt’s parents, declined to speak publicly, but released a message through the Shenendehowa School District:

“We appreciate and are overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of support and concern from the entire Shenendehowa community and beyond. While the call from Tim Tebow provided a smile in an otherwise devastating situation, we would like to keep the attention focused on supporting the families of the students who passed. Tonight is a time to come together as a community and celebrate the lives of Chris and Deanna.”

Charges have not yet been filed against the driver who allegedly collided with Stewart’s SUV, pushing it off the road.

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