Unity: Strength of a Community

Click here to see many more photos from this powerful event!

Blaine Whitworth, a well-known, kind-hearted man was murdered in front of his home. More on that story can be found by clicking on the following links.

This tragic event was met with a huge response from both the UCM community as well as the Warrensburg community. A candlelight vigil in remembrance of Blaine was planned. The event was to be held on Wednesday September 5th in the street in front of Molly’s. A Facebook event page was started and soon the invites were spread throughout the UCM population as well as throughout communities outside of UCM. A total of 1,888 people had been invited to this event and a total of 1,289 people responded to the invite saying that they would attend.

By early evening, around 6pm, Warrensburg police officers began to close off a portion of Holden Street in preparation for the ceremony. Cars were cleared from the street and the staff of Molly’s began to set up. At around 7pm visitors began to slowly trickle into the empty street.  By 7:30pm there was around 150 people there already. Many of these people stopped in front of Molly’s to pay their respects to the victim and to place flowers at the base of a photo collage that was on display.

© Andrew Mather Photography

Caleb Egbert pays his respects to Blaine Whitworth after placing a flower among the others

© Andrew Mather Photography

A father and daughter look over the photo collage

© Andrew Mather Photography

A chalk writing could be seen in front of Molly’s
It reads:
Good times come & go but
Memories last forever
RIP William Blaine Whitworth.
Love
Michelle & Melissa

At 9pm the ceremony officially began. By this time there was well over a thousand people gathered in the street. There were speeches from members of Blaine’s family and his friends. These speeches told of who Blaine was. They told of his accomplishments in his life. Many laughs and tears were shared throughout the crowd.

© Andrew Mather Photography

A couple of young ladies in the crowd fight back tears as they listen to the heartfelt speeches and memories of Blaine’s family and friends

© Andrew Mather Photography

Blaine’s father took the podium and thanked everyone for all of their support in this hard time

© Andrew Mather Photography

Blaine’s mother was the last to take the stand. She too thanked everyone for all of their love and support throughout this tragedy.

As Blaine’s mother finished up her speech, the main event began. At the close of her speech she picked up her candle and began lighting the first of many candles.

© Andrew Mather Photography

Blaine’s mother, Diane Whitworth, lights the first candle

© Andrew Mather Photography

Diane Whitworth passes the first flame onto the father, Barry Whitworth

From here the flame was passed from candle to candle .

© Andrew Mather Photography

A couple people in the crowd silently stare ahead, illuminated by the soft glow of their candles

Within just minutes, the flame from the first candle had been passed from person to person and spread throughout the entire crowd. The sight of over a thousand candles held in the street was beautiful.

© Andrew Mather Photography

People hold their candles as they remain silent in remembrance of Blaine

© Andrew Mather Photography

With candlelight flickering in the night, the community stands together

© Andrew Mather Photography

A sea of candlelight

© Andrew Mather Photography

This is a true example of unity. People of different races, classes, and genders all gather together one night for a common cause

 

Below is a beautiful video by IZZO Productions. Please be sure to check it out.

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About Andrew Mather

I'm a media photographer specializing in the following: -Sports -Concerts -Nature/Scenic -Various Event Coverage View all posts by Andrew Mather

One response to “Unity: Strength of a Community

  • Mary Cummins

    My goodness—-I was just researching my family history–Hutson family
    from Warrensburg Mo. and saw the link for Baline Whitworth and thought I
    would read part of it to see what happened to this young man, but as I read
    more and more it warmed my heart that he was such a dedicated and caring person and it showed with all those that were there for the candle lighting. What a senseless act by the two that played this out and Im sure
    their time behind bars will be a painful one, but don’t let a day go by remembering Blaine by a Word, Thought, Smile, his Help and best of all
    HIS MEMORY in any way to ease the pain and erase the TWO BAD SEEDS from your memory and let them drown in pain in jail.
    God Bless All Who Knew Blaine Whitworth. M Cummins

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