Victims of the March 13 shootings will be remembered and honored in a Take Back the Day Remembrance Walk scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
The event will begin at 1 p.m. with a service in Mohawk’s Weller Park, according to organizer Barbara Bellstedt. She pointed out the walk is not a fundraiser, but is intended to honor and celebrate the lives of those who were lost and those who survived the events of March 13 and to bring the community together for healing and support.
After the service at Weller Park, participants will begin the walk, which will go down Washington Street to Main Street and proceed into Herkimer on Mohawk Street to North Main Street and up German Street to Brookwood Park, where there will be a balloon release, followed by a picnic, which will include hot dogs, chips and beverages.
The Herkimer Area Resource Center will provide a bus and driver to take participants back to Weller Park after the picnic.
“I’m still looking for balloons for the balloon release,” said Bellstedt, adding she would purchase them herself if necessary.
She is asking participants to bring bells of any sort to ring during the ceremony. “We’re asking them to bring bells instead of candles, since this is a daytime event,” she said.
Four different florists have agreed to donate wreaths which will be placed during the walk in memory of those who died in the shootings, according to Bellstedt, who said she had received permission from the owner of the building where John’s Barber Shop was located and from Gaffey’s Fast Lube in Herkimer to place wreaths at those sites. Harry M. Montgomery, 68, of Mohawk, and Michael G. Rancier, 57, of Herkimer, were shot and killed at the barbershop. Also shot were John Seymour, owner of the John’s Barber Shop, who has since returned home, and Dan Haslauer, who remains hospitalized. At Gaffey’s, the victims were Thomas Stefka, an employee, and Michael L. Renshaw.
Bellstedt said families of the victims have been asked to provide favorite photos. Doggie Styles will donate a dog-themed wreath in honor of Ape, the K-9 killed when law enforcement units confronted shooter Kurt Myers in the former Glory Days building in Herkimer.
Local businesses have agreed to donate food for the picnic and some businesses along the route will offer bottled water for the walkers.
The route for the walk will include Washington Street in Mohawk in honor of those who lost their homes when Myers set fire to the building where he and they lived, according to Bellstedt. “We’ve learned a baby was one of the survivors of the fire on Washington Street,” she said.
Mohawk Valley Apparel has agreed to offer memorial T-shirts at cost for anyone who wants to purchase them.
Page 2 of 2 - Bellstedt said she has never organized a walk like this before and admitted to some nerves as the day approaches, but she added, “It’s moving along very well. People have come forward.” Some of the families are supporting the effort. A sister of one of the survivors who lives in South Carolina has been making phone calls and helping organize the event. Bellstedt said Herkimer and Mohawk Police Chief Joseph Malone has assured her there will be officers available during the event.
The number of participants could range from 200 to 300, according to Bellstedt. She said most of the sign-ups have come through social media.
Those interested in participating are asked to call Barb at 219-1580 or Joyce at 717-5980 or visit http://www.facebook.com/events/231765316965901/