Center Moriches community bands together in memory of late 8-year-old
A candlelight vigil was held Monday night in memory of Thomas Valva, the 8-year-old who died after police say he was forced to sleep in a freezing garage.
Valva received communion at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church last year. On Monday, his fellow churchgoers and community members came together at that same church for an evening prayer in his honor.
In addition to the vigil, businesses in Center Moriches are putting up blue ribbons and selling blue items to support child abuse prevention. Brothers Four Pizza is donating $5 to Thomas' biological mother from the sale of every pie and special blue garlic knots.
"It's crazy, unheard of ... and this being Center Moriches, we're a small, quiet town, this is the first time anything like this has ever happened," says Antonio Iorio, of Brothers Four.
At Studio Tan, they are selling blue lotion and giving blue goggles for eye protection. Business owners all across Main Street say their goal is to paint the town blue.
At Thomas' church, the sounds of Amazing Grace could be heard outside from the dozens joining together in song.
"We want to try to find that light, in the midst of what is so dark," says Father John Sureau, of St. John the Evangelist. "There's no question how dark this has been for the community and for so many people throughout Long Island, throughout the country, even throughout the world."
The support has been so strong that one business selling blue ice cream already sold out of it.
Thomas will also be remembered Wednesday at the Mangano Funeral Home in Deer Park. Wake services will be hold from 2 to 4:30 p.m., and then from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Thomas' funeral will be held Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Church in Melville.