Shine a Light for Gabby tribute set for Friday to honor Blue Point native
The Blue Point community is planning a special tribute to Gabby Petito Friday and hopes it will stretch across Long Island.
From the teal ribbons lining the streets to the flag flying at half-staff outside the Bayport-Blue Point Public Library, heartbroken community members are banding together to honor 22-year-old Petito, whose disappearance and death has captivated the nation.
LIVE BLOG: Updates from the Gabby Petito case
This Friday, a special candle lighting event called Shine a Light for Gabby will take place in honor of Petito's memory. Nora Garvey came up with the idea.
"I knew that people wanted to do something," says Garvey. "They also wanted to donate so I wanted to come up with a tangible thing that everyone could do together that could really be a visual representation of the support that this family has."
For a $20 donation, people can receive a luminary to be lit in unison Friday. All proceeds will benefit the Petito and Schmidt families. Garvey says the response has been so overwhelming that she has sold more than 1,100 to people on Long Island, across the U.S. and as far away as Europe.
Tonia Parente knew Petito when she was a little girl growing up on Park Street. Parente plans to purchase a candle and light it in Petito's memory.
"We're here to support her parents," says Parente. "This is horrible. So, we're here just to support them."
People are being asked to place the luminary on their driveways Friday and light them at 7 p.m. to send a unified message of love and support to the Petito and Schmidt families.
There is also a GoFundMe page to help the families.