MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. (KFVS) - The healing process is still underway in Marshall County Ky two years after a school shooting took two lives and injured others.
The “Night of Hope and Healing” event was put on by the Facilitators of Community Unity and Support, or FOCUS.
Music greeted guests as they arrived to the school’s auditorium where they wrote down prayers for the victims, their families and the greater community.
It was an opportunity to see old friends and share memories for J.D. Whirley, who graduated from Marshall County in 2019.
“No matter where you, no matter what college you go to, where you move off to, you’re still a Marshall. You’re still Marshall Strong,” Whirley said.
Several speakers shared messages of hope and resilience during the event.
It resonated with Whirley who still remembers seeing the alleged shooter on that tragic day.
“I don’t hate the sinner, I hate the sin," Whirley said. "That’s what I look at. We go as a community, as love, as compassion with arms embraced. That is how we come as a community. Not as a community that blames this or that.”
The school also partnered with the American Red Cross to host a Marshall Strong community blood drive on Thursday, January 23.
Forty-nine units of blood were donated in the effort, including one from Trent Lovett, the superintendent of Marshall County School District.
“One of the victims, Bailey Holt, wanted to be a nurse and there is a nursing scholarship in her honor,” Lovett said. “I know that she would be very proud of the number of people who showed up today to give blood. You want the blood to be there whenever it’s needed just like we wanted it to be there when it was needed for us and so the opportunity to give back is a blessing.”
Lovett said that a collection of Marshall Strong memorabilia is being installed at the new public library in Benton, Ky.
Lovett and Whirley hope it will provide more opportunities for the community to come together, remember and move forward as one.
“This community has proved it," Whirley said. “Our faith together as a whole can move mountains and if we continue it I can’t even imagine what is going to happen in the next couple of years.”