WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Members of the Thalian Association Children's Theater Leadership Program have a special way to honor a young man who was killed outside the Community Arts Center in downtown Wilmington last year.
They're holding a tree lighting ceremony at the CAC on Thursday, December 5 at 5:45 p.m. The event will include lighting a special memorial tree for 19-year-old Joshua Proutey who was shot and killed on December 13, 2012.
There will be refreshments and music in the lobby of the CAC. The event is free, and the public is invited.
TACT Leaders will also announce plans for a new video on gun awareness and safety. It will be produced with guidance from the Wilmington Police Department and shown in area schools.
Following the ceremony, attendees are encouraged to stay for the opening of Thalian Association Children's Theater's holiday show The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at 7:00 p.m. on the Hannah Block 2nd Street Stage at the Community Arts Center.
The production will also run December 6 & 7 at 7:00 p.m. and December 8 at 3:00 p.m.
Tickets are available in advance by calling (910) 341-7860 or you can purchase them at the door.
COMMUNITY REMEMBERS PROUTEY
Proutey's sister-in-law, Garrietta Proutey said she thought the ceremony was very well-done.
"I love the tree," she said. "The tree is just perfect, and I love the fact that we get to watch it grow year after year, and just know the impact that Josh had for a short period of time here will continue to grow here as well, even after he's gone"
Susan Habas, Managing Director of the Thalian Association, also took time to reflect on Proutey's life.
"He had a great sense of humor and his eyes would just twinkle," Habas explained.
She said Josh loved working in theater at the arts center.
THE LIGHTING OF THE PARKING LOT
After Proutey's death, the parking lot was criticized for being too dark at night. The City of Wilmington added additional lights to the lot, but now more are on the way too.
Wilmington's Police Chief, Ralph Evangelous, said that the lighting can only make the area safer.
"We know statistically that lighting decreases crime," explained the police chief.
"Bad guys don't like to be seen, they like to hide in the shadows so there is a correlation to less crime and less lighting."
Evangelous said he does not know when the newest lights will be installed in the parking lot.