Hundreds of people filled Wilson Area High School's auditorium Monday night to remember Mark Werkheiser, who was shot and killed nearly two weeks ago at his Williams Township home.
It was part of a larger, ongoing effort to both honor Werkheiser's memory and reach out to the four children he left behind.
"These children are going to need uncles, and big brothers, and big sisters and aunts," Wilson car dealer Tom Ring told the crowd Monday, challenging "every business" owner in the community to help raise money for the Werkheiser kids.
"That's the last thing they need to worry about," Ring said.
Heidi Markhow, executive director of Wilson's LINCS Family Center, said Ring had pledged to match any donations to the children up to $5,000. So far, their fundraising efforts had brought in a little over $3,000 as of Monday afternoon. There were also donation boxes set up outside the auditorium.
In addition, Werkheiser's graduating class at Easton Area High School is also accepting donations, and has more imformation on its Facebook page.
Monday's memorial had initially been planned as a candlelight vigil on the football field, until the day's chilly, windy weather made that impossible.
So people -- a mix of children and adults -- gathered to listen and pray and reflect on an event that, as LINCS board vice president Lisa Tresslar said, "touched every single family in the Wilson Area School District."
Werkheiser was found shot to death at his home on Browns Drive in Williams Township on March 15. Northampton County District Attorney has called Werkehsier's ex-wife a person of interest in the case, but no arrests have been made so far.
Doug Wagner, Wilson Area's superintendent, told the Werkheiser children -- twin girls, and two younger brothers -- to hold on to each other.
"The band that you have with your brothers and sisters is so important right now," said Wagner, who was orphaned before he was in high school. "Rely on each other. Use each other to overcome the difficult times ahead."
After the memorial, Markhow -- who founded the anti-domestic violence Beginning Over Foundation -- and Tresslar ran a program for journalists and community members on how to write and think about domestic violence.
They argued that its never helpful to assign blame to the victim, or ask "Why didn't they just leave?"
Instead, look at the person on the other end of the crime, and ask "Why did he or she abuse?"