Hundreds Gather For A Candlelight Vigil To Honor A Boy's Memory
An enormous crowd of supporters, organized by the young people of Barnegat, stood on the side of Barnegat Boulevard last night, remembering Kyle McGetrick, 12.
"I dont care if I am standing alone or if there are a million people with me," said Jillian Grobelny, 20, of Barnegat, Wednesday, as she tried to spread the word about a candlelight vigil in honor of Kyle McGetrick.
Grobelny needn't have worried. Hundreds of residents from Barnegat and beyond — an estimated 700 to 1,000 people — gathered outside the Cecil S. Collins Elementary School in Kyle's memory.
"I personally didn't know Kyle, but I didn't need to," Grobelny said to the crowd outside Collins school Wednesday night. "Through hundreds of stories and pictures I saw that Kyle was an amazing little boy who had so much strength and courage."
"I honestly didn't think that this would be this big, but I am so happy that it is," Grobelny added, sobbing as she spoke. "People who were strangers have become my friends. We live in an amazing town full of amazing, caring and throughtful people. Rest in peace, Kyle. You will never be forgotten."
Kyle McGetrick, 12, passed away Tuesday after a seven-year battle with cancer — a battle that the entire town joined in. Just before his death, the young boy asked that the foundation created to support him during his short life, "Courage for Kyle," be turned into "Courage From Kyle," an organization in support of other young people and their families in town dealing with the disease.
Laughter and sobs intermingled, as people of various ages, though overwhelmingly young — from teens and college-age men and women, to little children — lit their candles and stood alongside Barnegat Boulevard, as cars passed by, slowing to watch the display of flickering lights in the gathering darkness.
Occasionally, a driver of a passing vehicle would roll down his window and display a flickering candle of his own.
Kyle's father, Gene McGetrick said it was good to hear the laughter and to see the smiles on people's faces.
"That's what he brought to everybody," McGetrick said. "He always made other people smile."
"They say when it rains, the angels are crying," Kyle's sister, Mariah McGetrick, 16, said at the vigil. "They are not crying in sadness, but in happiness. I know Kyle is happy to see a whole community come together for him, [even now.]"
"It's crazy to think that only three days ago we all laughed and spent time at the family dinner," said Jamie Lynch, 16, whose little brother was close friends with Kyle. Lynch smiled as she addressed the crowd. "We all shared stories, and you were so happy. That's the Kyle that I will remember, full of life."
"Tonight I'm feeling a little closer to Kyle," said Judy Bennett, 50, a Barnegat resident who didn't know him well, just saw him around town, she said. "I've seen him out shopping and doing things with his family. He'd always give me a wave and a smile."
Next week will see more events in rememberance of Kyle's life. There is word that the fire company is planning a fireman's funeral to Kyle, who was an honorary fire fighter and always had an affinity for fire trucks.
According to Gene McGertrick, the viewing will be held on Thursday, May 10 at the Shinn Funeral Home in Manahawkin, and the funeral will be held on Friday, May 11, at St. Mary's Church in Barnegat.