WASHINGTON COUNTY (KDKA) — Nearly 100 names are etched in stones around a small waterfall on the grounds of the Washington County courthouse.
Sunday is a national day of remembrance at the Crime Victims Memorial Garden.
Families gathered to honor loves ones killed during violent crimes. Pam and Tom Tarr’s son Thomas Eugene Tarr Jr. was killed in January 2006 during a robbery.
“This is life always being remembered, never forgotten, just being here with everybody,” said Pam Tarr.
Kathy Loose and Melinda Poland founded the garden. Poland’s son Danny was hit by a drunk driver in September of 2000, Loose’s daughter Alexzandra was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2004
“Healing, you either live or you die in the circumstances we’re in and this helps us keep going,” said Melinda Poland. “We’ve made a lot of friends under the circumstances.”
It’s no coincidence that the garden is in the shadow of the Washington County Jail.
“The people that caused the devastation in people’s lives have to walk by this and see the names, the people in the jail,” Loose said.
There were lots of teary eyes as names of each victim was read. One of the names was East Washington Police Officer John David dryer killed in December of 2011.
“He was a veterinarian long before he was a police officers and I begged him not to do it,” said Dryer’s father John Dryer. “I said, ‘You’re going to step out of a car, you’re going to stop somebody and he’s going to step out and kill you,’ and that’s exactly what happened.”
The man who shot Dryer was killed by police. Like others who lost love ones to violent crimes, Dryer’s father wants to keep his son’s memory alive on this national day of remembrance.