On Sunday, Carroll County will host the 30th annual Maryland Crime Victims’ Memorial Service for the Western region, an event to honor crime victims and their families in Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Montgomery and Washington counties.
“It is all about victims who were lost to crimes — your murders, your driving under the influence accidents that result in deaths,” said Becki Gray, a victim witness advocate with the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office. “The survivors we talk about who will be at the memorial service are families who have lost somebody due to a crime.”
The event, which will include survivor stories, music and readings, takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Legacy Hall of the Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department, at 6680 Sykesville Road.
“We will read the names of all the victims who have been lost,” Gray said. “It has been going on since 1996, so it’s hundreds and hundreds of names, and we will read all of them. There will be a memorial wall that also has those names listed on it — it’s so the families know they are not forgotten.”
The memorial service rotates among the counties in the western area, Gray said, so the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office last organized a service for the 26th annual event. It will also host the memorial service for the next four years.
“This event is a reminder to the family members and loved ones of murdered and missing crime victims that they are not alone,” Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo said in a news release. “There is an entire room of people across the state who are there to support them on their journeys, both inside and outside of the criminal justice system.”
The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention sends out invitations to the memorial service to families known to have lost a loved one due to a crime, Gray said, but those who might not have received an invitation may contact her at 410-386-2671.
“We encourage any family members who have lost someone due to a crime to come,” she said.
And while the event is not geared toward the general public, Gray did say that close family friends and others with close ties to someone who was lost due to a crime should also feel welcome.
“It is a small event, it is meant to be an intimate event because we want people to feel welcomed and loved,” she said. “I would not tell anybody they could not come or discourage someone from coming if they feel they lost someone they considered to be their family.”