Candlelight vigil planned for Monday as Cpl. Hilliard family remembers tragic loss
PITTSVILLE, Md. – Monday will mark the one-year-anniversary of the tragic death of Corporal Glenn Hilliard. The Wicomico County Sheriff’s Corporal was killed in the line of duty in Pittsville last year. Operation We Care has planned a candlelight vigil for Monday night, but it’s not just to remember Corporal Hilliard. Organizers say they want to celebrate the community’s support of Corporal Hilliard’s family, and remember a man his widow says lived a truly happy life.
“He was such a ball of energy, joy, happiness . . . I rarely can remember a moment where he just wasn’t happy,” says Tashica Hilliard, Corporal Hilliard’s widow.
Tashica remembers her husband as a man with so much to give, lost too soon. He was a father, a husband, a son, a brother and so much more to the community he served. Just one day after his passing, thousands turned out in support at a vigil held at Perdue Stadium. It’s that overwhelming support, Tashica says has helped get her through the last year.
“When I showed up and saw thousands of people, at that moment, I knew I wasn’t alone. I knew I wasn’t going to go through this alone and I also felt Glenn feeling the same way.” Tashica says, “I feel like today I haven’t lost that support from the community.”
Jeff Merritt with Operation We Care was at last year’s vigil and says, “It was amazing to see over 1000 people come out and show up, with very, very short notice. But it’s a testimony to our community, how they come together and rise up in different situations.”
It’s that community spirit that resonates with Tashica, as she describes her husband as someone who would be the first to step up and help another person in need.
“Glenn was an awesome person . . . his idea of living, was to be a helper and anytime that anything was happening or going on or if he heard of a need, he was going to be the first one to volunteer to be there to give his help, to give his support,” says Tashica.
She says Glenn’s happiness lives on through their children. “Even today, you know, through everything that’s gone on, because of his memory and how daddy lived his life and how daddy would be happy, you know with everything happening, my kids are happy. That’s how Glenn, he led his life, a very, very happy life.”
That’s the sentiment both the family and organizers hope the community will bring to Monday’s candlelight vigil. It will be held on “Glenn Hilliard Way,” in Pittsville, just steps away from where his life was taken.
“We thought this was a fitting location for the one-year-anniversary of the tragic event that really shook our entire community,” says Merritt.
While the location may be a somber memory, they hope the event itself can be a celebration.
“Glenn would not want this to be a sad vigil, he’d want this to be a celebration,” says Tashica. “I want Monday night to be a happy, joyous occasion, to celebrate the community support and the life that my husband sacrificed.”