Service honors Grand Junction residents who died without homes

Heather Tripler had two sons, blue eyes and a contagious laugh.

On Oct. 9, Tripler, 34, died alone on a bench at Emerson Park. She was homeless.

On Sunday, the Grand Valley Coalition for the Homeless held a memorial service for nearly a dozen homeless people who died this year in Grand Junction.

Kim McGinnis was Tripler’s aunt. She shared her memories while choking back tears.

McGinnis told the crowd of several dozen who came for the informal ceremony, including several homeless people, that her niece made friends quickly.

“My Heather was a magic child treasured by each family member,” McGinnis said.

The nondenominational service included a candlelight prayer, a reading and the chance for anyone in the crowd to share memories of those who died this year.

Several people spoke about the love they had for one of the homeless men or women who died. Others reminded the crowd gathered that every little bit helps those in the community.

Sunday’s memorial ceremony was held near a tree and plaque erected in Hawthorne Park in memory of the homeless who have died in Grand Junction.

The plaque read, “In Loving Memory of those from our community who have died without homes.”

John Mok-Lamme, pastor at Sojourners Christian Fellowship, helped lead the ceremony.


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