Shevy McGiffin was the 13-year-old girl who died due to an accidental drowning near the Clarion River this weekend. Her favorite colors were purple and black.
Thus, with an outreach of local community support online, nearly 100 Clarion-area residents and others turned out Wednesday evening, some in purple and black, to pay respects for McGiffin and her family who grieved publicly.
Tina and Andrew, parents of Shevy, along with their local and out-of-town family stood in front of the Clarion County Offices at 7:30 p.m. after Samantha Casey Neeman organized the candlelight vigil on Facebook.
“The community has done a lot, more than I thought they’d do,” said Tina Schneider.
The Schneiders praised the community turnout as dozens arrived to hold candles in remembrance of Shevy although the family was displeased with the emergency response teams tasked to search for their daughter.
“It doesn’t matter,” said Tina in reference to her daughter’s disappearance not fitting the criteria for an AMBER Alert or K9 unit search, “send that search party, so that nothing like this happens. The poor, little girl could be here right now.”
According to the Schneider family, the community intends to coordinate a volunteer search unit titled the Shevy McGiffin Response Team in the event something similar happens in the future.
In order to help pay for the burdens of the funeral and burial of Shevy, the Schneider family is accepting donations both physically at the University Korner on Main Street and online. The GoFundMe has already surpassed its goal at $12,705.
Much of the vigil was spent remembering Shevy as a creative, funny and caring teenager. Her mother Tina said she would miss cracking jokes and having her around. More detailed accounts of Shevy and a prayer held at the closing of the vigil by Clarion junior Gabe Ackman are included in this Clarion Call video.
Consistent with the unforgettable nature of Shevy shared at the vigil, Neeman stated, “They say that Shevy’s blowing out all the candles.”
The family said she would have been proud of the number of people and their dedication displayed on Main Street Wednesday night.