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Hesston Community Holds Memorial Three Months After Shooting

Credit Abigail Wilson / KMUW
Those in attendance bow their heads during a moment of silence.

Updated on 05/25/16:

A small crowd gathered around a spontaneous memorial along Highway 81 near Excel Industries in Hesston on Wednesday.

Three months ago Cedric Ford, an employee at Excel, started firing a weapon, first in nearby Newton, and soon after at his workplace. Four people, including Ford, were killed.

Credit Abigail Wilson / KMUW
T-shirts posted outside of Excel in memory of those who died are taken down.

In the months since the shooting, four sun-bleached t-shirts have been displayed near Excel, along with a makeshift memorial with flowers, American flags, and candles.

Gary Blaine, a Pastor at Highland Trinity United Church of Christ and a member of the Hesston Ministerial Alliance, was among the speakers at the event.

Credit Abigail Wilson / KMUW
Members of the Hesston Ministerial Alliance and the community process to the local library with items from the spontaneous memorial. The objects will be permanently held at the library as a symbol of the city's grief, trauma and healing.

"Some people may think that we are gathered in front of things that are now faded and tired," Blaine says. "But I'd like for you to consider the possibility that these are sacred objects. And they're sacred objects because they come out of suffering."

Following the service, the items from the memorial were gathered and taken, by way of a procession, to the Hesston library where they will be permanently held.

Another event will be held at 6:30 this evening to recognize the first responders, support personnel, volunteers and the many others who assisted the day the shooting took place. The event is open to the public and will be held at the Hesston Mennonite Church, 309 S. Main. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Original Story: 

Community leaders have organized a special service honoring those affected by February’s mass shooting in Newton and Excel Industries in Hesston. Four people died, including the shooter, and 14 others were injured.

A makeshift roadside memorial was quickly set up near Excel Industries.

Now, the Hesston Ministerial Alliance, along with city officials and employees of Excel, will walk these items to the Hesston Public Library for display and safe keeping.

Pastor John Murray of the Hesston Mennonite Church says the community is still healing.

“So many people have been affected by this; there're so many different responses," Murray says. "And part of the intent of this is to honor those different responses and acknowledge that the journey continues.”

The event will be held on Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. near the intersection of Highway 81 and Ridge Road in Hesston.


Follow Abigail Wilson on Twitter, @AbigailKMUW

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