POINT PLEASANT — Less than 24 hours after their classmate and friend was tragically killed in an automobile accident in Cabell County, PPJSHS students filled the amphitheater at the Point Pleasant Riverfront Park on Saturday night to console one another and pay tribute to Andrea Lynn Nicole Bailes.
Bailes was 14 and an eighth grader at PPJSHS.
The students, who were joined by parents, friends and other community members, solemnly filled the amphitheater Saturday evening, some bringing flowers, some with balloons. The silence was palpable and respectful with no cell phones ringing or snapping pictures and very little words spoken - the most power words spoken through quiet embraces of crying students. It seemed as if the community were literally speechless.
Clergy attempted to comfort those gathered by visiting different scripture from the Bible, asking those gathered to light candles to represent the light that Bailes’ life had brought into the world - then citing a verse from Luke and talking about following the light and wisdom found in faith with God. The clergy didn’t pretend to know why the senseless tragedy happened but asked those struggling to turn to God to get them through the questions they have right now. Those gathered were also asked to lift Bailes, her family and friends up in prayer.
Then, when the clergy stepped aside to allow students to share what they were feeling, a lone, young man stood from the crowd and began to sing “Amazing Grace,” and started a chain reaction of others joining him in a rendition of the old hymn along the Ohio River.
One of the clergy members asked students to hold their candles high for a photo to be sent to Bailes’ mother who was not able to attend the vigil. Clergy also made note of Bailes’ brothers who were in attendance.
Memorial services have been announced for Bailes and are as follows: a funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011 at the Deal Funeral Home with Rev. Roger Bonecutter officiating. Burial will be in the Wyoma Cemetery, Gallipolis Ferry. Friends may call at the funeral home on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please visit dealfh.com to send condolences to the family.
Bailes’ full obituary has been posted on the website for the Point Pleasant Register.