By: Jacqueline Miles
Although the sun shone brightly Saturday morning, it was not as bright at First Baptist Church of Warrington as the celebration of life took place for the four children, Keyonna, Jeremy, Michael and Kayvyana, who succumbed to smoke inhalation in a fire at 2503 N Baylen.
As the community, family and friends entered the church, four caskets with an angel in the center lay at the front of the church for viewing.
The service began with a processional of ministers representing the community churches, leaders, family and friends, and songs of praise by the First Baptist Church of Warrington.
Pastor U. L Johnson, read a scripture from the Old Testament with a prayer of strength given by Minister Orlando Woodard. New Testament scripture was delivered by Pastor Lillie B. Johnson. Ms. Belinda Hall-Beasley rendered a heartfelt solo and a special expression was given by Superintendent Malcom Thomas, of the Escambia County School District.
As first cousins, uncles, and friends all talked about the children, they agreed that they were full of energy and loved life and would be dearly missed. Mentor, Ken Marlin spoke to Cortisa (the mother) thanking her for the time he spent with the children and sang “It is Well with my Soul.” Mentor Dr. Perry encouraged Cortisa to “hold on.” There are going to be times that you will want to stop but just hold on,” she said. There is going to be times that you will cry but just hold on, hold on!” she said.
Mr. Cedric King, Captain of the Pensacola Fire Department gave special acknowledgments for the family. “There is a lot of history on Baylen and Scott Street.” He began. “I slept in the same room these kids died in for many years with my grandmother. She was a praying grandmother.” I remember 23 ½ years ago I applied for a job with the fire department. One day the phone rang and she answered. She came in and said, ‘baby, we got the job! And then we prayed’. When I made Lieutenant, I came and said grand mama we made Lieutenant, she said that’s good baby, are you the chief? I said, No mam. When I made Captain, she had passed on. So, I went to the cemetery and said, grand mama, we made Captain. I can imagine her saying, that’s nice baby. Are you the chief?”
“When I was asked to be in charge of this, I went to God and asked God what do I do? I’ll just follow you,” said King.
Eulogy was delivered by Rev. J. H. Miller of First Warrington Baptist Church. Tracy Morton Funeral home directed the service.
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