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Families remember loved ones at Angel Tree event

12/6/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Photos: Ken Crisafi
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Families and friends of local residents who were victims of homicide had the chance to reflect and remember their loved ones at the Victim Assistance Program’s (VAP) annual Angel Tree Ceremony Dec. 3. The event in the Atrium at the Oliver Ocasek Building allowed people to share their remembrances and place angel ornaments on Christmas trees to memorialize lives lost. Ornaments waiting to be hung are shown at right top.

Stephanie Karamas, of Akron, was among the participants in this year’s event. She is shown at right middle as she hangs an ornament in memory of her brother, Louis Karamas Jr., who was kidnapped, robbed and killed at age 25 in 2004. He was a 1998 graduate of Coventry High School.

Akron Police Chief James Nice was the featured speaker at the event. In addition, members of the Akron PeaceMakers youth group were on hand to hang ornaments for victims whose family members could not attend. Pictured at right bottom, from left, are PeaceMakers Jalynn McCants, 18, of Akron, Maya Fraser, 15, of Akron, and Tailon Burrell, 15, of  Coventry.

Founded in 1972, VAP provides confidential and free services to victims of crime in Summit County. VAP is the only program that is on the scene at homicides, suicides, traffic fatalities and death notifications, according to VAP officials. The organization offers a staffed, 24-hour Crisis Line (330-376-0040) providing crisis counseling, safety planning, referrals to VAP or other organizations, advocacy with the police and other services. For more information, visit www.victimassistanceprogram.org.

— By Kathleen Folkerth

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