WARREN - With the theme ''Extending the Vision, Reaching Every Victim,'' area residents marked National Crime Victims' Rights Week with a candlelighting vigil and service Tuesday to remember their loved ones who lost their lives to crime.
More than 100 people gathered at First United Methodist Church, where each person could light a candle and give the name for whom the candle was being lit.
National Crime Victims' Rights Week is being marked through Sunday, partly to draw attention to the problem of continued violence and crime in society that claims so many lives, organizers said.
Harding Madrigal singers perform during vigil for victims of crime and violence.
Kathy Migliozzi, event co-chair and a member of Trumbull County Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, said in April 1981, the first Victims' Rights Week events were held nationally, focusing on enhanced sensitivity to the rights of victims of crime. She said 31 years later, the activities are held each spring.
Raquel Magallon of Youngstown lit a candle in memory of her son, Jason McInnis, who died in October 2006.
''Events like this are bittersweet. You feel the hurt every day, but you come here and do see and have the support. It helps with the healing,'' Magallon said.
Holly Quick of Akron, formerly of Warren, lights a candle in memory of her niece Angie Clutter and great-nephew Jimmy Clutter, who were murdered in 1998. She was among more than 100 residents who gathered Tuesday at First United Methodist Church in Warren in memory of victims of crimes. At left is Nella Flack, event co-coordinator, assisting with the lighting of the candles. Photos by Bob Coupland
Holly Quick of Akron and formerly of Warren lit a candle for her niece Angie Clutter and great-nephew Jimmy Clutter, who died in 1998.
''I have received so much comfort from those who are here,'' she said.
A video was shown of more than 50 area residents of all ages who were victims of murder and violence.
Miriam Fife, whose son, Raymond was murdered in 1985, read the names of 19 more local residents who lost their lives in 2011 and 2012 because of crime.
Roger Banyots, whose brother Richard was murdered in 1985, said he credits Fife, who has helped so many locally by providing comfort and support.
Banyots, Fife and the late Mary Lou Donahue organized the local chapter of Parents of Murdered Children as the three had all suffered the loss of a loved one to crime within a close time frame.
''I'm proud to be part of this organization, which can make a big impact and help so many,'' Banyots said as he led the group in prayers for their loved ones.
Girard Municipal Court Judge Jeff Adler said most of the victims of crime are drug or alcohol-related, with it being crucial to get rid of drugs.
''If we eliminate drugs, we would eliminate 80 percent of the crime,'' Adler said. ''We have to do something about drug use in America. If we don't there will continue to be more and more crime and more and more victims.''
He said as a prosecutor in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, he dealt with cases with murder victims and saw what families went through.
Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said with the many people nationwide who are victims of crime, it is important for everyone to unite to make our communities safe for families.
''Your pain is the city's pain. We are one community, and we must stand together in unity,'' he said.