Family, friends, GC community gathers in rememberance of Lauren Gainey
Over one hundred people gathered around the steps of Parks Hall on Tuesday evening to honor Lauren Gainey.
The Chemistry Club and the university worked to organize a candlelight vigil, giving students, faculty, family and friends the opportunity to mourn and remember Gainey’s life.
Bruce Harshbarger, the Vice President of Student affairs, explained that the memorial was held in front of the Parks Hall rocking chairs. Which was one of Gainey’s favorite places on campus. He added that she would often sit on the porch, doing homework, enjoying the weather or conversing with friends.
Gainey’s family attended the memorial. Her father, Jeffrey Gainey, spoke to the crowd of students and faculty members, expressing his gratitude for the support he received from the university and the community.
“During times like these we need family and friends,” he said. “And I was so impressed with the support from the school and how much everybody cared.”
Harshbarger then introduced Gainey’s fellow chemistry students, Demetrius Denize and Ashlyn Burch, who played a moving and emotional rendition of Horatio Spafford’s hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.”
Dr. Ken McGill, one of Gainey’s chemistry professors, gave a brief memorial speech and invited members of the crowd to speak and honor Gainey.
Students that knew Lauren from classes or student organizations read the somber, sweet poems “To Those I Love and Those Who Love Me” by an unknown author and “My Memory Library” by Sarah Blackstone to recognize the love, passion and joy that Gainey exemplified.
After the poetry reading, representatives from each of Gainey’s student organizations, clubs and local organizations that she belonged to released balloons, one-by-one, into the air as Harshbarger recognized Gainey’s service to the Milledgeville community.
The memorial service closed with the lighting of candles and a moment of silence. Even though it began to rain, students and faculty stayed to offer support to the Gainey family and place their favorite memories of Lauren into a memory jar while the Women’s Ensemble sang “There Will Be Rest.”
Harshbarger, remembering Gainey’s smile and passion for the community, offered a quote to remind students that the Gainey’s legacy would be missed, but not forgotten.
“Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening,” he said. “But no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, love is stronger than death.”