Community prayer, candlelight wraps up LaGrange’s National Faith & Blue events

LAGRANGE, Ga. (WTVM) - LaGrange’s National Faith and Blue ended on Oct. 9 following a community prayer and a candlelight vigil for parents who’ve lost a child.

The police department put an emphasis on connecting with a community of parents who’ve experienced the pain most hope to never know, the pain of losing a child.

“It’s a lot of hurting people that’s been through tragedies and know what to release and let go. Tonight is going to be one of those times that they can come together and embrace one another and share their feelings and light the candle in honor of their loved one,” LaGrange Police Department Chaplain Alice Baker said.

It’s a pain LaGrange parents Alice Hand and Landis Swanson are learning to deal with.

“His spirit still lives on, and that same smile that I remember and keep in mind and thought, I see every day,” said Swanson.

Swanson’s son,16-year-old Nassir Truitt, died after being shot at a LaGrange skate park earlier this year.

Hand’s son, 27-year-old Alex Cox, died in the summer from Cardiovascular disease.

”Being a mother that lost a child, it’s something. It’s a different hurt,” Hand said.

Their stories are different, but the pain is similar.

“You can get up there and talk about it but talking about it is different from actually the action of doing something,” Swanson said.

LaGrange Police Department Chaplain Ann Baker said the goal behind the event was an effort to put action behind the talk about change in the community.

Leaders and parents said they are seeing more and more young people dying, whether it’s from tragedies or violence, and they want to see that trend end.

“They’re killing each other, they’re dying off and they’re our tomorrow. They’re our tomorrow and if we keep standing back and letting it happen without trying to do something, and I’m not talking about putting a band-aid on it. I’m talking about getting to the root of what’s going on with our young people,” Baker said.

Both parents said that finding a community after losing a child is beneficial and helps in the grieving process.

The event started at 5:30 at the Town Square in Downtown LaGrange.

Jatavia O'Neal

Jatavia O'Neal

Jatavia joined the News Leader 9 team in February 2022.

James Giles

James Giles

James joined the News Leader 9 team in December 2020 as a Reporter/MMJ.