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Coming Together in the Face of Tragedy: #PolkCountyStrong

BY LEANN DILBECK –

Exhausted. Burdened. Grieved. Last week, like many of you, left me confused, admittedly angry and disgusted, and just plain heart broken. For myself, I had seen the absolute worst of people and the best of people at the same time… and my, oh my, what a stark contrast it was… but in the end, out of all the darkness, there were beacons of light shining bright and I can honestly say, I’ve never been more proud to call Mena my home.

Never having lived anywhere else my entire life, like many of you, believed those heinous unspeakable crimes only happened somewhere else… in cities full of concrete and lights, or maybe even in some barbaric third world country, but certainly not in my quaint little hometown.  While we all grieved, hoped, and prayed for one family… we all seemed to forget about our many differences and the community became one… as we always seem to do in times of tragedy.

We came together and did all we could to support our law enforcement, providing food, providing drinks, and certainly providing prayers and an abundance of gratitude. Gratitude for their tireless and relentless efforts in challenging weather conditions… knowing that every second mattered. Gratitude for the incredible heart in which they do their job.  And, respect for the burden they must have felt over those five very long days. Now, we will come together to pray for their healing.

We came together and surrounded a hurting and devastated family with candles, sang hymns, and held our arms outstretched in prayers… from coast to coast, people across this great Nation joined with our community online to provide support to a family that will forever miss the lives of not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 precious souls that were stolen from them. Now, we will come together to pray for their peace.

We came together to financially assist a family that never anticipated paying for the funeral of a 2 and 10 year old… let alone, two more all at the same time. We came together to alleviate a financial burden yes, but also, because we felt compelled to do something for this family to show that they do not have to carry this burden alone. Now, we will come together and pray for His provisions.

We will come together to memorialize these four lives – Steven, Bethany, Reilly, and Acelynn – to so many of us, they are only pictures but to their family and friends, they were so much more and their absence, especially under these circumstances, will forever pose the question, “What if…?”  We must come together to pray for God to fill their life-sized void in a way that only He can.

We will come together to pray for the prosecution team as these ministers of justice carry the very heavy burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law the guilt of one evil man.  We will surround this team with the respect in which their office deserves and know that they are the only ones that know the true facts of the case. We will not impede the pursuit of justice by posting or sensationalizing details of the case as if we know them to be fact, when in fact, we do not, and perpetuate a horrific crime for family members to be subject to reading. We will uplift these ministers, praying for their discernment and wisdom… and know in our hearts they are motivated by finding justice for the most vulnerable of this world.  We will come together to pray for justice.

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