By Joseph T. O’Connor EBS Managing Editor
BIG SKY – Fire Pit Park in Big Sky’s Town Center was transformed the evening of May 19, as the community came together to remember 12 residents who passed away over the last year.
The impetus came when Betsy Rondeau posted to social media suggesting a memorial for Kerri McKinney, who died after being struck by a vehicle April 13.
Rondeau tagged Big Sky Town Center, and the development project’s Events and Social Media Manager Erik Morrison replied.
“I ran it by the team and we said we’d be happy to,” Morrison said. Then a week later Moonlight Basin founder Lee Poole passed. “We decided to have a dual vigil, [but] once word got out about what we were doing, requests began to pour in to include many of the other Big Sky community members we’ve lost recently.
“Before we knew it we were up to 12 people,” Morrison added. “That’s when it really hit home.”
Approximately 80 people attended the candlelight vigil, according to Morrison, which was introduced by Bradford Lartigue, Chaplain for Big Sky Resort Ministries. The resort donated tables and tablecloths for the event and Big Sky Community Corp. provided frames that held photos of the deceased.
The vigil was scheduled to run from 9-10 p.m., but many supporters showed up around 8 p.m. and stayed well past the end. “People hung out for about two hours after that by the fire, talking and spending some time in thought or in prayer,” Morrison said.
The evening hit a poignant note when Caroline Titmus, mother of Jason Titmus who was killed in a car accident on Lone Mountain Trail last October, shared a poem her son wrote. Lartigue read the poem.
“It really summed up the whole event and [highlighted] making the most of every moment,” Morrison recalled. “It was sad and inspiring all at the same time.”
Deceased honored at vigil: