Ocean Ridge Plantation holds candlelight vigil

Updated: May. 15, 2021 at 3:59 PM EDT
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OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Three months after a tornado tore through part of Brunswick County, the neighborhood that suffered the most damage held a candlelight Vigil Saturday night in honor of those who lost their lives.

Three people were killed, ten others were injured, and multiple homes were destroyed after a tornado struck southern Brunswick County late at night on February 15.

On the three month anniversary of the tragic event, around one hundred people gathered at the Tiger’s Eye Golf Links clubhouse to remember the beloved community members who died during the tornado: Barry Glick, Rich O’Connor and Phyllis O’Connor.

“The purpose behind this is to allow the community to come together to kind of just mourn together, to come together, to build strength off each other and to remember those that we have lost as well as those affected by the tornado because there are many,” said Donna Ciliberti, Ocean Ridge Plantation HOA president. “This community is very caring, very compassionate and getting together in a group is something that — it helps people’s energy and support each other so this is really important for us to do as a group.”

There were testimonials to remember the three people who tragically died.

Mike Dailey spoke about the life and memory of Barry Glick, a retired teacher. Glick was known as the neighborhood historian. He would gather those in the community for meetings where they would talk about history. Glick was also a retired educator and great clarinet player.

Fred Thorne shared some words in honor of Rich O’Connor, who would have celebrated his 73rd birthday the day after the tornado. Rich’s wife, Phyllis O’Connor, was memorialized by Maggy Schlink and Jan Henson. Both Rich and Phyllis were known for their servants hearts.

Rich was an avid golfer, even winning the men’s club championship. He was also a basketball star in college.

Both Schlink and Henson said that Phyllis was very engaged in the community and was always looking for ways to give back.

She was also an avid quilter. The twister scattered close to 30 handmade quilts Phyllis was storing at home that were set to be donated to charity.

The Ocean Ridge singers sang at the event. The group performed several songs, including their own rendition of Hallelujah that changed a few of the versus to reflect what the community experienced in the wake of the deadly tornado. There was also prayers and poems.

The EF-3 tornado touched down around 11:50 p.m., according to officials, in the area of Seaside Road and Highway 17. Ocean Ridge Plantation and another neighborhood off Old Shallotte Road were hit the hardest.

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