WAVERLY, Va. (WAVY) – Hundreds gathered in Waverly for a vigil remembering the victims killed in a tornado last week.
Community members, leaders, law enforcement officers and other supporters converged outside of the Annie B. Jackson Elementary School on Monday night.
“We’re gonna recognize each victim… we want everyone in the community to come together,” said Tracy Thomas, who organized the ceremony as president of the Incredible Women of Wakefield Social Club.
Many held candles high as local pastors offered prayers and words of encouragement.
Those who lost loved ones, like Trenika Stringfield, were provided with balloons to release.
Trenika lost her two-year-old son, Ian Lewis, her 26-year-old brother, Devine Stringfield, and her 50-year-old boyfriend, Larry Turner, in the deadly tornado.
The three were inside a mobile home when the storm ripped through.
“I just love them all so much,” Trenika told 10 On Your Side. “It’s gonna be so hard not seeing my baby run through the house.”
Tears streamed down Trenika’s face as she described each of her lost loved ones.
“My son, Ian…he was just an awesome kid. I just can’t express how much I love him.”
“[Turner] was a lover of people, he was just so awesome. He had so much charisma, so did my brother,” she said. “I’ll never forget them, the impression that they made on my life.”
Trenika was also hurt and displaced by the tornado. She’s now living with her mother, and surrounded by family members.
Her sister, Tequilla Whitney, told 10 On Your Side that Trenika’s strength has inspired her.
“Her faith in God is strong,” Whitney said. “She’s a miracle.”
Trenika feels fortunate to have survived the tornado.
“Because God chose to save my life, I wanna do my best. I look forward to doing my best – God’s will – so I can see my son again. I really wanna see my son, my friend, my brother, again.”
An online fundraiser has been set up to help Trenika.