Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It’s never easy when a child dies. No matter if the child is a newborn, a toddler, or a teenager, it’s not easy.
We’ve reported on too many deaths in Niagara County in the past 90 days:
• Dennis Ash, 16, of Wilson drowned while swimming in Wilson Harbor on July 8.
• Sarah Johnson, 14, of Wilson died when her house exploded while the family slept on the morning of July 24.
• Collin Enzinna, 18, of Lockport died from injuries suffered in an Aug. 24 motor vehicle accident.
• Tyler Miller, 14, of Barker, died unexpectedly on Sept. 29.
Four lives cut short at a combined age of 62. We can only imagine what their respective families are going through.
Fortunately, there are strong support systems in place that can help families, friends and the community at large when such a terrible event happens.
Local school districts make counselors available to help students — and teachers — cope with something that shouldn’t happen until we’ve all lived a full life. Area clergy are quick to volunteer their services as well. Social services can point people in the right direction.
We’ve seen every aforementioned child remembered in one way or another this year. A skateboarding demonstration was held in Ash’s memory. The entire community rallied around the Johnson family with events still taking place to assist them. A candlelight vigil attended by friends and classmates was held for Enzinna. The Barker community — schools, sports, friends, clergy — is stepping up for Miller.
Well-organized memorials like these didn’t happen on such a grand scale 25 years ago. However, people today are more attuned to the devastation these events can have on families and friends. They recognize the healing power of brining people together, or just offering a comforting shoulder on which to cry.
As much as we dislike seeing a young life pass, it’s gratifying to see there is a strong support system working so well.