Walk, service rememberthose who died homeless

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Marchers remember loved ones and others who lived on Fort Wayne streets, during a Longest Night procession through downtown Fort Wayne.

Community members and “The Rescue Mission family” trekked from the Superior Street shelter to a downtown church Wednesday night, Dec. 21, for the annual Longest Night memorial walk.

The 99 people who filled the Krauss Chapel at Trinity English Lutheran Church heard the Rev. Sharon Gerig and Rebecca Karcher read the names and ages of nine homeless men who had died in Fort Wayne since the same walk on the first night of winter in 2015. One man’s age is unknown, but the oldest was 62 and the youngest 22. A pause separated the reading of each name.

“That might not be all, but it’s all that we know about,” Gerig said.

Gerig, the director of emergency services and community outreach for The Rescue Mission, told KPC the service helped to show that all individuals have the same desires and deserve the same dignity and respect.

Karcher, the director of communications and community engagement for Trinity, told KPC of her reaction to the service. “To think that I have a 23-year-old son and to see that the youngest was 22, it touches my heart,” she said.

(Read the full story and see more photos by Ray Steup at INFortWayne.com.)