PULASKI - A touching tribute for five Pulaski girls, 25 years after they were struck and killed by a car.
Family and friends held a memorial service for Brenda Hylok, Laura Karcz, Jessica McKeefry, Jodi Prokop, and Nicole Watia on Monday night.
“I hate this day with a passion. It's like the worst day ever,” said Mary Kay Elsner, who organized the tribute.
October 7, 1988 may not be an important date to some. But for Elsner and others in Pulaski, it's the day five of their friends were taken from them.
“Nickie and Jodi were my best friends growing up. And I just love them a lot. The last 25 years have been really rough,” said Elsner, tearing up.
Twenty-five years ago these five seventh graders died suddenly in an accident, while walking down the sidewalk. A car driven by a 17-year-old boy jumped a curb, after the driver had a seizure.
“I knew the families for sure would still b e hurting, but I didn't realize how important it was to the community of Pulaski,” said Elsner.
For the 25th anniversary, Elsner says she wanted to do something special. She brought more than 100 people out for this memorial service at Shippy Park, where the memorial for the girls sits.
On Monday evening, five white doves were released: One for each girl.
Families touched the birds, representing their loved ones, before the doves took flight.
Survivors say they hope this ceremony will be a release from long-held grief.
“It was like a nightmare, and when you think about it again, it still is. But you take one day at a time and thank the lord the time you did have with her,” said Anne Hylok, Brenda Hylok’s mother.
In amongst the tears and prayers, the families also took time to remember the little things.
“My parents had saved all the erasers that Jodi collected. So I wanted to make a point of putting that on here,” said Kelly Prokop, who was only four when her sister was killed.
For their short time on earth will never be erased from the memories of all who knew them.
“Are you up there laughing at us because we're doing this, or are you up there proud of us because we're doing this, or are you thinking, ‘why don't you guys just let us go? We’re fine, we're happy.’ But at the same time are they going, ‘wow, they really miss us,’ "said Elsner.
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