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CCPD Candlelight Ceremony to be held Tuesday

By Staff | Apr 15, 2016

The Cape Coral Police Department’s Annual Candlelight Ceremony will honor lost loved ones.

Marking its sixth year, the annual event will take place on Tuesday starting at 7 p.m. at the police department, at 1100 Cultural Park Blvd. The aim of the ceremony is to remember family and friends who have died by whatever circumstances, according to Victim Assistance Coordinator Pat Lucas.

“It is an evening of prays, of songs, of lighting a candle in remembrance of that loved one,” she said.

However, the event is not specially aimed at victims of crime. Anyone who has been helped by the department’s victim assistants is welcome to participant, such as people who have lost loved ones to natural causes, accidental tragedies such as a drowning, or even a traffic crash homicide or suicide.

“It is not just a victim ceremony, it is for all of the families we have assisted,” Lucas said.

It is a way for the department to show the families that it has not forgotten them.

“It’s a ceremony really of remembrance,” she said.

Approximately 160 family members attended the event last year.

“We ask family members to bring a framed photograph of their loved one,” Lucas said.

The keynote speaker will be lead chaplain Dennis Gingerich.

Prior to the ceremony, light refreshments will be available in the lobby, along with a time to socialize. Local support groups will be on hand to talk to any family members or friends who would like to.

“Families can talk with advocates and one another,” she said.

The ceremony, which will start at about 7:30 p.m., lasts for approximately an hour.

“Then we walk over to the reflection pond and we have each family member come and release a floating lotus candle into the lake,” Lucas said.

The event is open to the public.

“We certainly invite anyone who would like to attend to join us,” she said.

This Saturday, the CCPD will partner with the Fort Myers Police Department and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to host an event in recognition of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which is from April 10-16. The event will be held from 2-4 p.m. at Centennial Park, at 2000 W. First St.

“It is an opportunity for us to invite our families who have been victims of serious crimes and give them an opportunity to come together,” Lucas said.

A least a dozen local resources will be on hand for attendees to visit with.

“Every year, they have a basic theme of the week,” she said.

This year, the theme is “Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope.”

For more information on the Annual Candlelight Ceremony, contact Lucas (239) 574-0653.