The Vigil for Hope candlelit event was cancelled due to the rain 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 at White Memorial Park. Though the event was cancelled, the vigil has still had a lasting impact on people every year.

“It is an opportunity for anyone who has lost someone to suicide,” said Melissa Kurtenbach, executive director of Beacon for Hope. “...This gives everyone the opportunity to come together in remembrance.”

In past years, the vigil is held in silence to commemorate those who have been lost. The event takes place once a year in September, which is suicide prevention month.

There are five different candles for people to light. Each candle symbolizes some aspect of coming to terms with what has happened, such as hope and grief.

“We feel like since we’ve been involved with ESU and Hornets for Hope, that drawing campus life together is important for us,” Kurtenbach said. “It shows that there is support throughout the community.”

The vigil means something different to everyone, but the overall goal is to give a moment of remembrance and silence for those lost to suicide or struggling currently.

“The candlelight vigil is a really emotional and personal event for myself and for others,” said Eli Wright, president of Hornets for Hope and senior photography and art education major. “I use the vigil as my way of making deeper connections emotionally with myself, my brother (who I lost) and the individuals attending.”

Beacon for Hope partners with Hornets for Hope to put on events such as their annual walk and an upcoming masquerade ball.

According to, Beacon for Hope is dedicated to connecting the community through these events and other resources.

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