DEXTER, Maine — A menacing sky with booms of thunder Saturday night failed to deter more than 100 people from launching purple balloons for domestic violence awareness.
Hands everywhere held bunches of balloons in every shade of purple, an event spurred by the deaths of Amy, Coty and Monica Lake, who were murdered last Monday by Amy’s estranged husband, Steven Lake, the father of her children.
Shannon Sherburne of Dexter, who was accompanied by her son James Sherburne, 8, and daughter Geneva Sherburne, 12, said she was pleased with the turnout for the balloon launch.
“It’s really good to see the community get together in this way and show we don’t support this kind of action,” Sherburne said Saturday. She said her daughter had been good friends with Monica, who was a classmate at Ridge View Community School in Dexter.
Ridge View Principal Mike Tracy, who attended with his family, said school officials have agreed to let all the district children out Wednesday at noon so they can be home with their families sooner. The district had planned a full day Wednesday.
Tracy was joined by many others of all ages at the Lake Wassookeag public beach and most were holding fistfuls of balloons, a few of which were decorated with smiling faces while others were shaped as stars. Some smaller children unintentionally let their balloons go before the launch.
Carol Wallace of Dexter came with her family, including her husband, Leonard, their children Ben and Amy Wallace, and their grandchildren Grace, 7, Hannah, 4, and Isabella, 6 months. The older children all held a deep-purple balloons.
Carol Wallace said Coty and Monica were to have been in a family wedding later in the summer. Amy Lake also had taught Grace Wallace in school.
“It was important for the family to see the balloons fly to heaven, where Mrs. Lake, Coty and Monica have gone,” Wallace said, wiping her eyes. “I want this to be their last thought after a very rough week.”
When the launch was made, the sky was filled with purple balloons and eerily, the wind current took the balloons in the direction of the Shore Road home where Amy, Coty and Monica were killed.