Jason Ryan, alongside his wife, Tina, and co-coordinator, Kara Martin, intend to release more than 500 balloons during the vigil, with scrolls attached that include a picture of Jorelys — the Canton girl whose body was found Monday in a Trash bin in her apartment complex. Authorities are still looking for one or more suspects.
Water and light refreshments will also be available at the event.
“We have lived in this town our entire life and are raising our kids here,” Ryan said, adding that he and his wife have two sons, one 5 and the other 2. “We want to express our condolences for the family and the community.”
After posting information about the event on Facebook Monday night, more than 600 people have confirmed their attendance via the social networking site. The site can be viewed by visiting http://www.facebook.com/events/146347572134229.
“We can’t change the fact that she’s gone, but hopefully by keeping this in the news, we can keep as much light on it as we can,” Ryan said.
Ryan noted that he has invited the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and the Canton Police Department, as well as other local law enforcement, to come and hand out fliers regarding child safety and possibly speak to the crowd.
“MacGruff the Crime Dog will be there to educate kids on strangers and what to do if they are confronted by that situation,” Ryan said.
Martin, who did not know the Ryan family before she saw the Facebook posting, said she contacted Ryan to see how she could contribute.
“I have a 7-year-old daughter, too, so it just broke my heart,” Martin said.
Martin, who just recently moved to Gwinnett from Cherokee County, said she is currently trying to arrange shuttle services to and from Heritage Park to accommodate those who may have to park elsewhere during the event.
Though he has never organized an event like this before, Ryan said his family needed to do something “to make sure Jorelys didn’t die in vain.”
“Even if just one parent or one child can learn something (at the event), something good will come out of it,” Ryan said. “We have to find something good in everything in this world.”
For more information about the candlelight vigil, visit the “Candle Light Vigil For little Jorelys Rivera” Facebook page or call Ryan at 404-781-3541. Ryan will not be accepting any monetary donations.