Jessica’s House, the non-profit Turlock grief support organization, held a community forum and remembrance ceremony for the Turlock neighborhood shaken by the death of three family members in a hit and run collision.
“Jessica’s House has a structure in place for this type of tragedy to help families and communities grieve in a healthy, safe manner,” said Lindsey Herrera, the organization’s spokesperson. “The structure includes crisis intervention, social responsiveness and empowerment and structured sensory interventions.”
The Sept. 6 collision in the Boxwood and Rockwood neighborhood claimed the life of 4-year-old Brian Flores, his mother, 20-year-old Julia Argandar-Cruz, and his grandmother, 47-year-old Maria Elena Flores-Corrales as they were out for an evening stroll. Argandar-Cruz’s 2-year-old daughter was walking with her family, but escaped the incident unharmed.
Residents of the neighborhood were invited to a community support forum at Cunningham Elementary School Wednesday night that was coordinated by Jessica’s House. The forum provided the estimated 60 attendants with an outlet to express their grief and frustration, as well as a call for increased safety measures in the area including speed bumps and more street lights.
“I could feel the hurt in the room and I wanted to remind them that what they are feeling is normal,” said Gloria Valdes, the family services coordinator at Jessica’s House.
The forum also provided information about common responses of a grieving child, signs and signals of a stress reaction and a resource list for clothing and food, family wellness, shelter, alcohol and drug treatment and suicide prevention.
Jessica’s House also facilitated a ‘Ceremony of Hope’ at the site of the collision on Thursday that drew about 25 residents.
“To see the community come together and support this grieving family was powerful. I am grateful that Jessica’s House could be that bridge for this community to come together,” said Erin Nelson, executive director of Jessica’s House.
A visitation for the family will be at Allen Mortuary at 247 N. Broadway in Turlock at noon Sept. 16. A Rosary will follow at 7 p.m. Mass will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 17 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Burial will take place in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.
Memorial contributions can be made to Westside Ministries at 952 Columbia Ave., Turlock, Ca. 95380.