Last Tuesday, West Chester students, faculty, and local residents and first responders participated in a Mile of Silence to honor those affected by the bombings at the Boston Marathon earlier in April. Close to 150 people came out for the walk, which began in front of Wayne Hall and took the particpants around North Campus before ending up back in front of Sykes for a vigil.
The walk was the idea of two students, Mark Fala and Kelly Littleton, who wanted to do something locally to support those whose lives were affected by the attack.
“After hearing about the tragedy in Boston, I knew I wanted to do something to help but I didn’t know how at first,” Fala said. “Then I read about a few different walks that had taken place throughout the country to remember the victims and I thought it would be a good thing to bring here to West Chester.”
When Fala reached out to Jodi Roth, the Director of Service Learning and Volunteer Programs, she told him Littleton had a similar idea. So the two collaborated and with the help of Dave Timman from Sykes, were able to get the event off the ground.
“Kelly did a great job of getting the word out to the community and the plans for the event took off from there,” Fala said.
Both students were unsure of what the turnout would be in the hours before the event, but that changed when a sea of walkers showed up outside of Wayne Hall at around 7:30 on Tuesday evening.
“I was nervous that people wouldn’t end up showing up, but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who came out to support Boston,” Littleton said.
Among those who participated was former West Chester track runner Colleen Lynn. Lynn was a runner in the Boston marathon this year.
“She wore her blue and yellow jacket from the Boston Marathon,” Littleton said. “I was really happy to see her when she arrived at the event.”
Throughout the walk there were various displays of patriotism, such as one walker bringing a large American Flag and leading the way.
“It was a nice symbolic tribute,” Littleton said.
After the walk, the participants gathered in front of Sykes for a vigil that ended for a candle lighting in memory of the victims and their families.
“Several students spoke at the vigil and said some very nice things about the victims, support, community, and life in general,” Littleton said.
In addition to the walk and vigil, blue and yellow Mile of Silence T-shirts were also sold, with all of the proceeds to be donated to the One Fund in Boston.
It was nice to see that so many people in our community truly care about and want to help those who were affected by this tragedy,” Fara said. “I think the event served as an important reminder that there is still so much good in this world, despite what took place in Boston.”
Kenny Ayres is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at KA739433@wcupa.edu.