In downtown Tampa, candles help remember 61 homeless people who died in 2011

TAMPA — A name was said. Then a candle was lit.

At the end, 61 candles had been lit in memoriam for the people without homes who died in Hillsborough County in 2011.

The Homeless Persons' Interfaith Memorial Service took place as the sun set Wednesday on Joe Chillura Courthouse Square in downtown Tampa.

Some 100 people prayed, listened and remembered those who may have been forgotten by everyone else.

Elizabeth Ann Kain, 30, was among the names called — one of five Salvation Army residents to die in 2011. She was found naked and stabbed to death in a check-cashing store parking lot Dec. 15.

"This service brings closure to the clients," said Maggie Rogers, 36, a program director at Tampa's Salvation Army.

The Homeless Coalition said the average age of death was 55. Only six of those who passed away this year were women.

Speakers at the memorial urged the crowd to take action.

"Each time a person dies homeless on our streets, a part of our humanity dies with them," said Hassan Shibly, executive director of Tampa's Council on American Islamic Relations.

Rayme Nuckles, the coalition's CEO, said the census taken earlier this year of Hillsborough County's homeless population found that 51 percent said they were homeless for the first time.

Others at the ceremony sensed the urgency, and brought food and messages of hope to the homeless people who attended.

Across the street in the parking lot of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 125 homeless people lined up to receive pizza, drinks, blankets and clothing.

Volunteers from Lutz's Hope Church had moved their regular Wednesday meal for the homeless from its regular location at Bayshore Boulevard and Hyde Park Place to meet the memorial's demand, said Collin Streetman, 27, a graduate student at the University of South Florida from Odessa.

"No one was doing anything," he said. "So we decided to come out here."

In memoriam

Sixty-one homeless people — one of them unknown — who died in Hillsborough County in 2011 were remembered Wednesday:

Aarron Cordes, 52

Albert Maples, 60

Albert Smith, 60

Andrew Merkie, 57

Barry Holland, 60

Charles Lee Cummings, 68

Charles Small, 55

Daniel Begley, 59

David Massey, 51

Deborah Caldera, 50

Derek Jeglenski, 55

Donald Denmark, 56

Donald Depue, 70

Donnie, last name unknown, 35

Doug Wall, age unknown

Edgar Law, 46

Edward Franklin, 69

Elizabeth Kain, 30

Enrique Amador, 67

Eugene Kovach, 63

Floyd Cotton, 66

Frank Johnson, 55

Frank Nasi, 46

Garth Kear, 72

Gary Kubic, 56

Gregory Richelshagen, 57

Horace Williams, 59

Jack Gee, 76

James Blankenship, 62

James Hayes, 55

James Marler, 62

John Farms, 50

Johnny Kuhnast, 56

Kelly McMurray, 47

Kenneth Nelson, 57

Kimberly Turner, 30

Larry Hamby, 61

Leon Allison, 63

Max Pruette, 38

Michael Carlson, 49

Michael Fitzhugh, 68

Nathan Davis, 68

Neal Frye, 61

Richard Sanzeni, 24

Robert Hennke, 63

Robert Hutchins, 62

Robert Tyler, 48

Roland Johnson, 47

Ronald Vanderviss, 67

Ronald Ward, 49

Rusty Keene, age unknown

Sandy Chaires, 60

Shervington Grafton, 65

Sidney Summerlin, 32

Tammy Poreatis, 47

Timothy Taylor, 49

Viktor Stahailo, 68

Vincent Morrison, 43

Walter Ray, 51

William Snively, 52

Unknown, 30s

Source: Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County

In downtown Tampa, candles help remember 61 homeless people who died in 2011 12/21/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 11:57pm]

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