Several hundred people attended a vigil Sunday night in honor of Brandon Valley High School student Noah Kimball. Kimball, 14, was killed in a rollover accident on Sept. 22 near East Madison Street and Veterans Parkway.
The event was at Celebrate Community Church in Brandon Sunday night. Pastor John Semchenko delivered a brief message to open the event before a series of photos on a big screen rotated to corresponding music. Many Brandon Valley High School students were in the attendance that spilled outside the sanctuary and into the church lobby.
Kimball’s classmate, Faith Carson, held a poster that was signed with messages to Kimball by family and friends. The other side of the poster listed the school district’s motto of The Lynx Way, which includes being respectful, kind, responsible, safe and active leaders.
Carson said Kimball, whose nickname was Bubbles, was all of those attributes.
“Plus he was super funny,” Carson said. “He knew how to make everyone laugh.”
The event was originally scheduled to be outdoors, but a steady rain canceled the candlelight portion of the vigil. With every seat in the sanctuary filled, people also congregated in the aisles. Near the front in one of the aisles was the family and friends of Barry Grieve, the Lincoln High School student who died in a rollover accident last November.
Justin Grieve, Barry’s father, sat next to Mhiretab Tsegaye, who was in the car with Barry Grieve in last year’s accident. Justin Grieve said he hasn’t met the Kimball family, but felt compelled to be in attendance Sunday night.
“If we can reach out and help them with the grieving process, we will,” Grieve said. “We’ve been in it for almost 11 months now. If we can help somebody else, it will help us.”
Tsegaye was critically injured in the accident last year. He was in a coma for several months, and said being at Kimball’s vigil Sunday night stirred a lot of emotions simply because he never went through that process when his best friend was killed last year.
“I wasn’t there for the same thing that was going on in my church,” Tsegaye said. “Seeing how everybody was tonight made me realize what it must have been like for everybody caring for me and Barry.”
The pastor gave a final message before the congregation was free to mingle and look at several photos of Kimball around the sanctuary. A long line waited to greet Kimball’s mother and stepfather, Kerry and Adam Hirsch.
There wasn’t a dry eye to be found.
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