A community grieves

Published 8:42 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Coby Smith's mother is embraced during a candlelight vigil to honor her son's memory.| News Photo by Blake Bell

Amid the muffled sounds of condolences and the whimpers of choked-back sobs over one hundred members of the Atmore community and surrounding areas gathered Wednesday night at the babe ruth field in Tom Byrne Park for a candlelight vigil to mourn the loss of Coby Smith, the youngest of three young men to die early Monday morning in a single-car accident that left another passenger critically injured.

Smith, who was a freshman at Flomaton High School and a stand-out baseball player, both in school and in Atmore’s summer league program, was memorialized by a collection of pictures depicting him throughout his life. Mostly on the baseball field. The temporary shrine was placed at the short stop position where Smith had impressed and awed so many over the last seven years with his amazing talent and love for baseball.

Atmore Babe Ruth league president Murray Johnson opened the ceremony as the crowd gathered closer lighting candles and holding balloons for their fallen all star.

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“Something has happened here that’s never happened before,” Johnson said. “And I hope it never happens again.”

Following an opening prayer from First Assembly of God pastor Don Davis many in the crowd stepped forward to express their love for Coby and to mourn his untimely passing.

Melvin Rolin, who coached Smith, who was only in eighth grade at the time, on Escambia County High School’s varsity baseball team last year said the pain cuts deep but assured friends and family their loss is Heaven’s gain.

“I know Coby’s in good hands,” Rolin said. “I know Jesus needed a short stop.”

For more on Coby Smith’s memorial vigil please see the Saturday edition of The Atmore Advance.