One by one, with five dollars in hand members of the Cheshire community filed into the R.W. Hines Ace Hardware story Wednesday to by the Cheshire’s Light of Hope luminaries.
On New Year Eve, residents were asked to place them in front of their homes in honor of Isabella Gozzo and Chris Settembri, two lives taken too soon.
“Cheshire is a town that everyone comes together in time of need and the response has just been unbelievable,” said Tom Gaetani with R.W Hines Ace Hardware.
Police say Gozzo, 19, died in a car crash on Route 9 in Berlin on the morning of December 15th. Settembri, also 19, died alongside his father in a murder-suicide at their home on Cornwall Avenue.
“We are all devastated whether we knew them or not,” said Gaetani.
Kelsey Uguccioni knew both of the teenagers from school and from sports teams. She has taken part in Cheshire’s Lights of Hope in the past, but says this connection gives this year a new meaning.
“It’s crazy to think two people in my town have already passed away. It's hard,” said Uguccioni.
As hard as it may be, the candles are meant to bring light to the darkness, and beauty back to a town that has already been through so much.
“It’s absolutely gorgeous,” said Cherie Hemstock of Cheshire. “Some of the streets are just connected from each luminary to the other and it’s absolutely gorgeous.”
Cheshire’s Lights of Hope is celebrating its 10th year and has raised $600,000 for local charities.