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Rancho Tehama holds memorial on fifth anniversary of mass shooting

Candles line the top of the memorial in Rancho Tehama following the fifth anniversary ceremony. (KRCR){p}{/p}
Candles line the top of the memorial in Rancho Tehama following the fifth anniversary ceremony. (KRCR)

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Monday, Nov. 14, marked the fifth anniversary of the mass shooting in Rancho Tehama, when a gunman killed five residents and injured nine others. The healing process is an ongoing one, and part of that is the annual tradition of gathering at Fawn Meadow for a memorial service.

The mood was certainly solemn, as the impacts of the dark day are permanent and personal, but there was an undeniable community spirit that shone through.

Residents gathered around the memorial statue to reflect on their experience with tragedy and life in the aftermath. The effects of the shooting were magnified by the close-knit nature of the community, something evident in the many conversations across the lawn both before and after the service.

Despite being relatively new to Rancho Tehama, Pastor Bill Cosson led the ceremony and spoke about where the community stands.

“We don’t let the events of five years ago define us. That one day is not what Rancho Tehama is about. Rancho Tehama is a community of people and not something that happened here. And Rancho Tehama means more than just one day and more than just one occurrence," Cosson emphasized.

He made clear the importance of recognizing the losses and suffering that followed that day; that the purpose of remembering is not to dwell on that terrible day, but to remember those that the community lost.

Over the course of several speeches, nearly all of those in attendance were recognized individually for their community involvement and personal resilience, a true testament to how Rancho Tehama has rallied together in the five years since. Residents were given orange ribbons and encouraged to wear orange to the event, as this is the color used for gun violence awareness. Candles were also distributed, and placed atop the memorial statue following the ceremony.

The event itself was rather short, but the larger moment of community togetherness lasted far longer. Conversations over coffee and cookies provided for the event continued even as the chairs were carried away from the site, centering partly on the horrific events of Nov. 14, 2017, but also on life today. Many residents, Bill included, spoke to the importance of the here and now, and the vibrant community that is often overshadowed by a single day.

With that in mind, if you would like to support the Rancho Tehama community, they will be holding a food drive on Friday, Nov. 25.


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