Devastated by the recent tragedy at the R.M. Palmer Factory and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, West Reading Borough will host a community event in conjunction with the City of Reading to honor the victims and those impacted, directly or indirectly, by last Friday’s tragic event.
“As such, I and Council President Ryan Lineaweaver, alongside City of Reading leadership, invite the community to attend a candlelight vigil in honor of the victims. This event will take place on Friday, March 31, at 7:30 pm, at the West Reading Fire Department, located at 223 Playground Drive in West Reading and footbridge leading into the City of Reading. We will be accompanied by local religious leaders and speak to the importance of unity and community support in tragic times like this.” said Mayor Samantha Kaag.
“Many have since reached out to us both, either suggesting or requesting an opportunity to come together in the victims’ honor,” said Mayor Eddie Moran. “In the wake of this heartbreaking event, this is needed. As I often say, we are each other’s neighbors, and as a community, we need to mourn, honor, and support one another.”
“The focus of this vigil is the healing process of the families, friends, loved ones, co-workers, and community,” added Ryan Lineaweaver, West Reading Borough Council President. “This will be for our extended community to grieve together as one. The only speakers at this event will be local religious leaders, to lead prayer and silent solidarity.”
All members of the community are invited to join us for this solemn event to show support for those affected by this tragedy and remind one another that we are stronger when we come together. There will be resources available for the community at this event, including therapy dogs, chaplains, and mental health professionals who will be available to speak to anyone affected.
A memorial area on the West Reading side of the walking bridge will honor the victims and will be available for those who want to bring flowers, pictures, or other mementos.
When: Friday, March 31, 2023, at 7:30 pm
Where: 223 Playground Dr., West Reading, PA 19611
A few items of note regarding the vigil:
– Attendees may begin to gather at the location beginning at 6:00 p.m., on Parkview Road. The vigil will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m. at the West Reading Fire Department at 223 Playground Drive, West Reading.
– Bethany Lutheran Church will be opening their doors at 6:00 p.m. for the community. This is not an official gathering spot for the vigil, but is available as an option for any members of the community who wish to walk from the church with others.
– We will *not* be leaving the vigil area to walk to the R.M. Palmer site. The entirety of the vigil will be contained within the fire department and overflow areas designated. This has never been part of vigil plans, nor discussed internally as an option.
– Mayor Samantha Kaag will give a brief greeting, followed by a moment of silence for those lost. The remaining and only speakers will be local religious leaders. This event is meant to remember those lost, to grieve as a community, and begin the healing process.
– Resources, grief counselors, chaplains, and therapy dogs will be available for those in attendance. We will have private areas available for families and those in need of these resources.
– Parking will primarily be available along Old Wyomissing Road, where community members can walk across the walking bridge from Reading to West Reading for the vigil.
– For those looking to donate to the vigil, we appreciate the kind offers. At this time, we are only accepting pre-packaged food from businesses. Unfortunately, we cannot accept food or baked goods from individuals.