MEDFORD, Ore--- The #SouthernOregonStrong Flameless Candlelight Vigil honored victims of the Almeda Drive Fire on Friday night, At the same time, it thanked first responders for their hard work during the fire and the continued recovery process.
The night kicked off with dancing at the Vogel Plaza in downtown Medford. Then, there were speeches given by several different speakers.
"We can either passively, and often by default, allow these experiences to shape us into becoming withdrawn and hardened towards life and miss the beauty around us," said Complete Care Founder Dr. Thaddeus Gala. "Or we can decide to push forward together and use this as a stepping stone to learn, grow, and build up stronger as individuals, a community, and within our families."
"I have experienced what this community is capable of when they are called on to help and support," said RJ Wright. "This is just an amazing representation of that."
At the same time, people in vehicles joined Facebook live videos from the Rogue Valley Mall. At around 8:30 p.m., both locations lit up car headlights, cell phones, and fake candles to honor the victims.
After a moment of silence, the song "Rise Up" by Andra Day played. The crowd of around 40-70 people at Vogel Plaza all waved their lights during the song.
"I just want to thank everyone for showing up and more importantly, everyone coming together as a community," said Spartan Boxing Founder Troy Wohosky. "This today is not about politics. It is not about religion It is not the color of your skin. It is about us uniting as one."
Spartan Boxing will be raising money through a fundraiser starting on Saturday for two families including Trinidad Alvarez, Gladis Garcia, Issac Alvarez, Caleb Alvarez, and Ana Alvarez. All of them have lost their home to the Almeda Drive Fire.
You can donate starting on Saturday, September 19 through Saturday, September 26. You can donate at the Spartan Boxing Facebook page.
"And to take from the Ancient Greeks, we can extinguish despair and suffering by finding meaning and joy in helping our brothers and sisters flourish in becoming the Phoenix and Talent that rise again from the ashes," said Gala.