A Vermont town gathered Tuesday night to remember two residents who were killed last week in the Lancaster, New Hampshire circus tent tragedy.
Bob Young, 41, and his daughter Annabelle, 6, died after a powerful blast of wind tore down the circus tent and sent it tumbling onto the audience. Dozens of other spectators were injured.
"It's great to see everybody coming together," said Calvin Marchbanks, Bob Young's nephew, who attended the vigil.
Bob Young died, witnesses said, trying to protect his daughter. "Both of them were taken too soon," Marchbanks said of his relatives.
Concord School pre-K-8 principal Julie Donahue praised faculty and staff for helping organize a vigil at her small school, where Annabelle was about to start first grade. Donahue told necn the hope was to help the community start to turn the page from grief to healing.
"The message is yes, they're gone, but they'll always be with us in our hearts," Donahue said.
Educators and mental health counselors from Northeast Kingdom Human Services have been working with families to help smooth the return to school, aiming to be honest with kids, assuring them they're safe, and working to get them back onto a routine, explained school superintendent Mike Clark of the Essex-Caledonia Supervisory Union.
"The goal is, let's get back to a piece of normalcy when we can; when it's right," Clark added.
Marchbanks and Donahue both expressed gratitude for the generosity of businesses and individuals from across the Northeast Kingdom, the Lancaster area, and beyond. Donations topping $21,000 have poured in to support Bob Young's widow and Annabelle's sister.
Donahue set up a GoFundMe effort to collect donations for the Young family.
State officials in New Hampshire are still investigating the circus tent collapse, including how its poles and stakes were assembled and why no evacuation orders were issued for the audience, even though a severe storm warning was in place for the area that afternoon.