T.E.A.R.S. at Marissa Vigil
1 year after horror struck the small southern Illinois Town of Marissa, 100 plus supporters pulled together in an emotional show of faith and hope for better things to come. The candlelight vigil remembering Donna Calvert 13, Allaysa Porter 13 and mother Tina Porter 43 was held near the gateless crossing on South Main St. where Porter’s SUV was struck by a Union Pacific freight train.
Ken and Donna Calvert passed out forks to those attending as a symbol “The best is yet to come.” Patrons held candles throughout the vigil honoring those lost. Led by Ken Calvert, railroad safety advocates have pushed for crossing gates to be reinstalled at South Main St. along with a safety upgrade on Finger Hill Road. The ICC had originally put off installation of new safety barricades until 2010 but a strong push by Calvert, the Marissa community and T.E.A.R.S. representatives may get the gates installed by August 2008.
T.E.A.R.S. representatives including Vice President Helen Byrd attended the vigil and noted the community was still shaken from the tragedy. “Though the pain will last forever, installation of safety gates will save lives and bring about a small piece of closure, especially for family and friends. Our hearts and prayers will remain with this community always.”