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Posted: December 21, 2017

Vigil held for Amtrak crash victims

At Least Three Dead, Dozens Injured In Washington Train Derailment

By Deedee Sun, KIRO7.com

DUPONT, Wash. —

As the last signs of the train derailment are removed, the city of DuPont is saying, ”we will not forget” to the families affected by the tragedy.

Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts Troop 472 - wanted to remember the victims and organized a vigil Wednesday.

“We wanted to honor them,” said LJ Gruba, 9, a Cub Scout.

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“The boys knew it was bad and they knew people were hurting, so immediately they wanted to help,” said Leo Gruba, LJ’s dad and a den leader.

Nearly three days after this deadly derailment, the people of DuPont gathered.

“As we enter into the most holy holiday weekend, we remember that there are three families who got the most horrible news they can possibly get,” DuPont’s mayor, Mike Courts, said to the crowd.

>>Related: Good Samaritan helps Amtrak derailment victims; has car towed from scene

The scouts of Troop 472 provided an outlet to remember the lives affected.

Monday's derailment injured dozens and killed three.

Zack Willhoite and Jim Hamre were passionate advocates for passenger railroad.

Ben Gran -- another rail buff -- was also killed. Family members say he had taken more than 400 trips on Amtrak.

While investigators work to zero in on a cause, DuPont’s mayor says the crash will never leave them.

>>Related: Engineer did not use emergency brake before deadly Washington train derailment

“By 7:40 in the morning a horrific and unimaginable accident occurred, right here in our city,” Courts said. “Their lost sons are now embraced by this family. These people who were strangers to us on Monday, they're now part of our community.”

The scouts say there’s a reason they decided on a candlelight vigil.

“The message is, there’s still a light, there’s hope. It might seem dark and bleak right now but in the end everything will be better,” said Michael Forbes, a DuPont Eagle Scout.

And people here say they've experienced the strange way a tragedy can unite a community.

The crash “helped us identify what as neighbors we felt is important. And that's one another,” Gruba said.

>>Related: Leaders warned of danger from new route before Amtrak derailment in Washington 

The group ended the vigil with song – the chose to sing, “Silent Night.”

DuPont’s mayor says with traffic back to normal, he will likely lift the city's emergency declaration Thursday morning.


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