A flatbed towtruck served as a makeshift stage, and people gathered on the baseball field at Lemansky Park to share some much needed comfort and show their solidarity with the Auburn Police and Fire Departments. Crowds filled parking lots at Horgan, Rocketland and even the field behind the tennis courts was used as makeshift parking. At one point, about 100 motorcycles representing the Worcester chapter of the Harley Owners’ Group arrived en masse with a police escort. Group representative, Michael Miller of Auburn, said the group had raised over $21,000 for the Tarantino Family Fund as of Wednesday afternoon, and they would keep the donations coming until the funerals on Friday.
Town Manager, Julie Jaconbson opened with words of gratitude. “Our entire town is grieving” said Jacobson. “Look around you. This is the definitiion of community,” she added.
Joe Cariglia, who also served as emcee, kicked off the opened with the National Anthem, followed by an invocation from Rev. Douglas Geeze of Faith Church and also the Fire Rescue Department Chaplain.
“Part of Auburn died this Sunday” said Geeze to an emotional crowd. “Part of Auburn will be buried with both these individuals.”
All the speakers emphasized the importance of community support in coping with such a tragedy as the shooting of Officer Tarantino, and the loss of a community pillar in Roger Belhumeur.
Said Auburn Fire Rescue Department Chief, Stephen Coleman, Jr. of the tremendous outpouring of support for both men, “When things are bad, we come together. When things are good, we work together.”
The community certainly came together on Wednesday evening.