Showing support by flipping a switch
People across northern Michigan are leaving their porch lights on overnight. They're doing it as a way to honor Kelly Boyce Hurlbert, who was killed in a hit and run accident while riding her bike on July 5.
Investigators are still searching for the driver of that car, but family, friends, and community members are doing their part to shine a light on Kelly's life.
Itâ??s a simple idea, really: uniting the community in light. WTCM radio DJ Jack Oâ??Malley came up with the idea to have neighbors turn their porch lights on from dusk to dawn. He says it shows solidarity and support for the victimâ??s family as well as for the ongoing police investigation.
â??I think it would be impressive, especially for the family, if they could look out and see every porch light lit, said Oâ??Malley. "Wouldn't that be something?â??
The idea has spread. So far the post on the radio stationâ??s Facebook page has gotten hundreds of shares and people have commented from places as far away as Arizona and Tennessee.
â??I was running through the list and it was making me tear upâ?¦ 'The lights will be on here,â?? or â??the lights will be on thereâ??, â??you bet'. It was unbelievable,â?? said Oâ??Malley.
Kellyâ??s husband Paul is grateful her life is being remembered.
â??I'm happy that people are not only showing support, but getting to know a little bit about who Kelly was,â?? Hurlbert said.
He says the porch lights represent the communityâ??s awareness, something that means the world to him.
The plan is to turn the lights on every Thursday night until the person responsible is caught.
â??Think of the camaraderie, the unifying nature that will have when you look out and see that everybody has their lights on," said O'Malley. "You know you're all together. That's powerful. We're not alone, we're together,â??
Neighbors said they will keep their porch lights on as long as it takes, showing their support even though they didn't know Kelly personally.
Police are still investigating who is responsible for Kelly's death. They have received 411 tips in the case, but so far have no leads.