VILONIA, Ark. (KTHV) - Family members and friends of those who were killed in the 2011 and 2014 Vilonia tornadoes are still grieving, but they have their community by their side. It was apparent Friday as a dedication ceremony was held at the Vilonia ballpark.
"It’s especially hard because he was killed two days after my birthday. So my birthday was the last time I saw him. It’s hard," said Leolani Wassom whose brother, Daniel Wassom was killed in 2014. “It’s an honor to have his name on a plaque. It’s a true honor."
Students in the E.A.S.T. class at Vilonia High School built two pillars with the names of the victims from 2011 and 2014.
"Friend or foe, we came together, united and rebuilt this town," said Jacob Hogan, Junior at Vilonia High School.
Hogan came up with the idea of a memoriam two years ago.
"We realized there was not a memorial for the lives that were lost and to honor the town," said Hogan.
He saw a need to recognize those gone and the impact the tornadoes left behind.
"So future generations, who we may never see, can look at where we have been and where we are going," said Hogan.
Families of those who lost their lives were there to witness the dedication of the pillars.
"After we started walking these trials after the tornado, I saw an amazing, amazing community," said Kerry Tittle whose husband and two daughters were killed in 2014.
It can't bring them back, but it keeps their memories alive while helping a community heal.
"I don’t understand why things happen the way they do, but God is an expert at taking what was intended for evil and turning it to good," said Vilonia School District Superintendent, Dr. David Stephens.