Candlelight vigil draws hundreds to Biloxi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Candlelight vigil draws hundreds to Biloxi

Mary Lucas, center, is hugged by her daughter during the vigil honoring the victims of Tuesday's deadly bus crash. She was on the bus and a friend of Deborah Orr, one of the four people killed in the crash. (Photo source: WLOX) Mary Lucas, center, is hugged by her daughter during the vigil honoring the victims of Tuesday's deadly bus crash. She was on the bus and a friend of Deborah Orr, one of the four people killed in the crash. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

A Sunday night candlelight vigil was the kind of warm welcome to Biloxi that Deborah Orr should have experienced.

But instead, her family and friends received it for her.

“I just want you to know that on behalf of Austin, on behalf of my family, we really do appreciate everything you did,” one a family member told the crowd. “Every person you saved. Every person you bandaged up. Every person took to the hospital.”

Orr was among the four who were killed in the March 7 accident. Among those at the candlelight vigil was her sister, Patti Carmalt-Vener.

“My heart is broken but there’s a lot of love in my heart too,” Patti said. “My sister was really, really special, and it’s really nice that these people are coming out and caring. My family is far from home right now. So, the fact that they’re there and honoring her - thank you very much.”

Because Orr was a member of her Bastrop, Texas, Red Hat Society, red hats were made part of her tribute.

Mary Lucas was her friend, and a passenger on the bus.

“I came here to celebrate Debbie’s life. She was a friend of mine, and she was very vivacious and I’m just so sorry she’s gone. I saw her and I want to remember her as she was, not the way I saw her," said Lucas. 

John Kemp helped save some of the survivors. He needed the vigil as much as anyone.

“Part of the healing process was basically writing this moment down and maybe finding a nice spot and burning what I wrote down," said Kemp. In other words, to erase the memory. Cause I can’t shake the images.”

The vigil was organized by Jerome Harrison.

“It could have been my father or my mother or anybody else’s mother or father or brother or sister on that bus,” he said. “And it just made me feel so bad when it happened.”

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