Family and friends of Sincere Ash, who was killed in a tragic accident Sunday at a North Side Metra station, gathered at Lane Tech College Prep for a prayer vigil and balloon release.
Emotional utterances of “We love you, Sincere” were made as balloons and tears were released respectively into the air and onto the faces of Ash’s loved ones.
Ash planned on spending Sunday with his friends at the Lollapalooza music festival in downtown Chicago. After being detained following two unsuccessful attempts to sneak into the fest, police released the 17-year-old with a few dollars.
Ash, who was headed into his senior year at Lane Tech, had last been seen two hours earlier, at 4:15 p.m.
Four days later, family, peers and faculty gathered in Lane’s parking lot with balloons, candles and fond memories of the boy.
“That was my everything, that was my joy,” said Precious Stovall, mother of Ash. Stovall plans to start a foundation in memory of her son, who was planning to study art therapy in college. The Sincere Ash Foundation will be for children in arts, she said.
Stovall’s aching heart was filled from the outpouring support she found from those in attendance at the vigil.
The mother graduated from Lane in 2002, and with a few of her classmates at her family’s side she spoke on the importance of the support they have found over the years from the community.
Dozens of current and former Lane students gathered around candles lit on the ground. The flickering lights spelled out “Sincere.”
Charla Crawford, Ash’s grandmother, stood in front of the candles, arms spread wide, asking for the attendees to bow their heads. Crawford thanked God for the light and joy that Ash brought to others. “He brought laughter,” Crawford said, “He was a happy soul.”
Balloons were released as heartbreaking cries were heard throughout the crowd. Several moments of silent sadness ensued before attendees began to embrace one another in hugs, as well as their words. Heavy rain fell upon the family and friends as the vigil concluded.
David Flores saw his classmate Ash as a natural born leader. “We’re too young for that … but we have someone guarding us now,” said a mourning Flores.
Seeing the Lane community come together was no surprise to Flores, despite the tragic circumstances. “It sucked that it had to be like this,” he said, adding he doesn’t see the community moving on from the loss, rather he hopes to see the spreading of love.
As of Thursday night, the family’s GoFundMe page, has raised over $29,500. The platform has aided the healing of Ash’s family.
“It showed me how amazing my grandson was to have so much love coming from a lot of strangers and everywhere,” Crawford said.
When asked what she misses most about her grandson, Crawford his laughter, baking cookies with him and his presence. “His spirit and his heart is always with me,” she said.