Friends honor life of Waffle House employee Julie Brightwell - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Friends honor life of Waffle House employee Julie Brightwell

The candlelight vigil for Julie Brightwell draws hundreds from across the Coast. (Photo source: WLOX) The candlelight vigil for Julie Brightwell draws hundreds from across the Coast. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (AP) -

Julie Brightwell had many friends. They came by the hundreds to meet across the street from where she lost her life.

The candlelight vigil was a time to meet, hug and cry with one another when words weren't enough.

“A lot of people love Julie,” said her boyfriend, Eugene Nash. “That’s all I keep hearing is we love her and we’ll miss her. Everybody cared a lot about her. We all know Waffle House. That’s who shows up. Close family and friends and Waffle House.”

Brightwell was an employee for eight years at the Waffle House in Biloxi. She lost her life after asking a customer not to smoke in the restaurant. Instead of leaving, he allegedly shot and killed her.

Taylor Neitman was a coworker.

“I always knew I had a good person working with me that I could count on,” said Neitman.

The number of supporters was overwhelming with Waffle House employees from New Orleans among them. Among the supporters who spoke was Linda Kilpatrick, who has become the voice for Julie Brightwell’s life.

“In her own way, I knew she affected each and every one of you somehow because she had such a big heart,” Kilpatrick told the crowd. “I’m truly going to miss her very, very much.”

As will everyone else.

“I’m going to miss her very much,” said friend Johnny Banks. “It’s a tragedy, and I’m happy all these people are here to do this for her. I know she’s looking down and appreciating this very much.”

The vigil was organized by Waffle House executives.

“It’s an unmeasurable tragedy,” said Waffle House Vice President Pat Warner. “No company really can plan for things like this. So when it happened, the first thing we could do is rally behind our folks and make sure we take care of them. That’s what we’ve done from the start.”

A memorial service will be Monday at the Riemann Funeral Home on Beauvoir Road in Biloxi. 
Visitation will begin at 4 p.m., and the service starts at 5 p.m.

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