ELYRIA — Amidst the benefits and motorcycle rides, about a dozen people gathered quietly in Ely Square to hold a candlelight vigil for Omeire West on Saturday evening.
Omeire, 4, died in a house fire July 7 at his grandfather William Davila’s home in the 400 block of Second Street in Elyria. A mother herself, Tanisha Shreffler, of Elyria, said she organized the vigil because she would want the community to do the same for her.
“A little baby’s life was lost and I’ve known the family for a long time,” she said. “The brother, Santo Davila, is actually my pastor at Crossroads Christian Center and I went to school with the mother (Alyndria Davila). And I have kids myself and I know I would want the community to step up and do something for me and help me out if it happened to one of my kids.”
She said the dozen or so people who showed up were more than she expected. After lighting candles and holding a moment of silence, the group sang “Amazing Grace” beside the gazebo in Ely Square.
“I just thought that … because there’s (vigils) for everybody so I just stepped up and (did) it for them because it’s going to be hard on them because they just buried him.”
Ron Cantrell, of Elyria, lives a street over from the Davila’s house on Second Street. He and his wife, Lauren, went to the fire when it happened, and returned the next day to put a small memorial up.
“We wanted to make sure that everybody at least seen something there so at least everybody else would kind of join in,” he said.
Cantrell said his wife found out about the vigil online and they, like the dozen others, came to support the family.
“It’s just a tragedy,” he said. “And hopefully the family gets a little bit of solace, I guess, knowing that there’s a little bit of community support.”
For Charlene Watson, also of Elyria, she came to the vigil from the benefit dinner at First United Methodist Church to show support not only as a community member, but a mother who has had to bury her child. Watson’s 4-month-old daughter died from SIDS, so she said she understands what its like to lose a child.
“It’s just tragic that he had to die like that,” she said. “And I think it’s important for the community to get together and support the family in this horrible time that they’re going through to have to put their baby to rest at such a young age.”