CROZET, VA (WWBT) - There was an emotional tribute Friday night to a beloved 28-year-old father killed in an Amtrak crash last week.
A day before friends and family prepared to lay Christopher Foley to rest, they wanted to take a moment to reflect on his life at a community vigil held in the town where the garbage truck he was driving collided with an Amtrak train.
He's a man who meant so much to so many.
"There are very few events in Crozet that really call out to everyone in the community," said Pastor David Collyer of Crozet Baptist Church.
This event did just that. Friday night, friends and strangers united at Tabor Presbyterian Church for a vigil remembering Christopher Foley.
"Just to have an opportunity to rally around this family in their time of need," Collyer added.
Christopher Foley worked for Time Disposal, a garbage collection company. He was in the truck when it and an Amtrak train carrying lawmakers crashed in Crozet. He was the only person who didn't make it out alive.
"It was the first mass-scale incident like that that I had been on," said Battalion Chief Mitch Fitzgerald of the Crozet Volunteer Fire Department.
He helped coordinate efforts at the crash site. It didn't take long to realize he had a connection.
"He was my trash man. It happened right on the backside of my neighborhood…It's a tragedy someone so young lost his life so soon, leaving a family and obviously a young child behind," Fitzgerald added.
"There is absolutely nothing that will replace my loving son, and personally I will never be the same," his mother Catherine Foley said in a statement.
"Rather than simply mourn Chris...we want to do that, but we also have to remember to find in his life an encouragement to live our lives more fully," Collyer said.
In the midst of the tragedy that's uniting them is a sense of hope that's helping them get through the pain.
"There seems to be a gleaming overcast. There's still sunlight shining through," Fitzgerald said.
In lieu of flowers, loved ones are asking for donations to support Christopher Foley's fiancee and young child.
Foley was laid to rest on Saturday, Feb. 10.
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