Connellsville to 'Light Up the Skies' in remembrance of loved ones
Losing a loved one is painful. And keeping their memories alive is important to those they have left behind.
At 8 p.m. Monday, a lantern launch will be held at Cat's Courts in Connellsville. The event is being held to give anyone who has lost a child or a loved one an opportunity to “light up the sky” in their memories.
Cat's Courts are located at Mountz Creek Park in the city.
This is the inaugural “Light up the Skies” event.
“This event is for all who have lost loved ones in the city and Fayette County,” said Holly Healy, event organizer. “Come and remember with us. Pain shared is pain lessoned.”
The event is being held on the first anniversary of the death of Healy's daughter, Catherine, better know as Cat.
Cat, who died from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident, was a standout Connellsville Area High School volleyball player. She was also on the volleyball team at Penn State Behrend at the time of her death. The volleyball courts at Mountz Creek Park are named in her honor.
Holly Healy said special paper lanterns can be purchased for a donation of $5 and the multi-colored lanterns will all be launched to create a rainbow of love and memories in the night skies over the city.
“Can you imagine lighting our skies over Connellsville with these beautiful balls of light,” Healy said. “Please make sure if you do not attend to look up to the skies around dark.”
Proceeds from the sale of the lanterns will benefit Cat's Courts Care for Cat Fund and the Connellsville Recreation Board.
Community leaders and area residents will speak, some sharing stories of their loved ones.
Bagpipe music will be played and refreshments will be available.
There will be informational displays, including one by Forensics 4 Justice, which is teaming up with the Care for Cat Fund.
Forensics 4 Justice is a nonprofit that focuses on education, research and community programs that help to ensure the reduction of deaths, substance abuse and mental and physical health issues.
The group helps to promote awareness and has a strong interest in curtailing needless deaths and after- effects that impact those dealing with tragedy, crime, violence and loss.
Based in Uniontown, Forensics 4 Justice will soon have offices located in Connellsville.
“We are teaming up to make a difference in people's lives who have suffered tragic loses,” Healy said. Forensics 4 Justice is operated by Marybeth Salatino.
There will be information at the event from CORE, the organ donation organization.
“My family and I are so humbled to be a part of this city,” Healy said. “Please, with this year's approaching graduation of our class of 2104, don't drive drunk. And especially do not get in the car with someone who has been drinking. Catherine Healy loved you all. Let her death help to keep you safe. Remember, life is good.”
Holly Healy recommends those attending to bring chairs or blankets. If you plan to launch a balloon, make sure you bring a lighter or matches.
Lanterns can be personalized for those who wish to do so.
Holly Healy hopes that it will turn into an annual event.
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.