Churchill County residents attend candlelight vigil for Charles E. “Bert” Miller
The strength of a community is measured in its residents.
A candlelight vigil at the Laura Mills Park gazebo to remember Charles E. “Bert” Miller, who was fatally shot Sunday afternoon after a sacrament service at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, brought people together from all faiths to show their support not only for his family but also for the firefighters who served with the Fallon native.
Another vigil is planned for Tuesday at 3 p.m., also at the gazebo for the 61-year-old Miller, who spent 35 years with the Fallon Churchill Volunteer Fire Department and had served as the safety officer. Almost a dozen firefighters from the Federal Fire Department at Naval Air Station Fallon and several representatives from the Fallon Police Department and Churchill County Sheriff’s Office also attended the vigil.
Firefighters, who spent time talking with community members before and after the prayers and candle-lighting, thanked them for coming out to the vigil and supporting the Miller family.
“We wanted to come together as a community and show our support to everyone in the community and to bring comfort, peace and prayer to everyone,” said Yessie Maldonaldo-Clark, one of the organizers. “I started it last night (Sunday). It was in my heart to bring my community in prayer.”
Maldonaldo-Clark said she appreciated the community for attending the vigil and showing its love to the families involved with this tragedy.
Mayor Ken Tedford offered words of encouragement and led the mourners in prayer. After the vigil, Tedford extolled the benefits of living in a small community.
“This community is very important when the youngsters, the middle age or older put their arms around each other,” Tedford said.
Tedford praised the community’s residents for arranging for the vigil and not local government. He also said many churches, who reach other to either help their own or each other, and other groups in Fallon have a strong community spirit and raise money with dinners, runs or other events to support residents.
“That’s community helping people who need help,” Tedford said.
Tedford said the community support for the Millers showed Monday night, and that’s why he loves the community.
Robert Johnson, a 42-year resident of Fallon, has seen this type of community support since his family moved to the Oasis of Nevada.
“I have seen it more than once when I was on the ambulance crew,” Johnson said, citing how the area’s residents support each other whether they know the person or not.
Tricia Dooley-Strasdin, who has a brother serving in the fire department, called this community reliable.”
“Whether they feel it or not, the Miller family knows the community is coming up around them,” she said. “Tonight, it didn’t matter what faith you were. People were coming here for faith and prayer. This is an excellent example of how strong and united we are.”