ARGYLE—A community torn apart by a fire that took the lives of three young boys gathered in Argyle to grieve, mourn and remember.
A community healing and remembering service was held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the park in Argyle. Pastor Daniel L. Bohlman of Apple Grove/Yellowstone Lutheran churches and Pastor Rick Fry of Argyle/Adams Lutheran churches organized the service.
The crowd of approximately 300 people joined in hymns and prayers. Near the end of the 35-minute service, electric candles were lit by each of the participants and placed at the pitcher’s mound of the baseball diamond surrounding a photograph of Alan, Jeffrey and Joseph Wand, the three boys who died in the house fire on Sept. 7, allegedly set by their father and uncle, Armin Wand III and Jeremy Wand. Three lanterns were lit in remembrance of the boys.
During the service, Bohlman shared his message about “new pictures.”
Bohlman said he woke up to the sound of yelling on Friday, Sept. 7, taking a moment to realize there was a house on fire in the distance.
“That very picture of that house on fire was still in my mind on Saturday,” Bohlman said. “Then on Sunday it remained… the problem was I didn’t want that picture anymore.”
Bohlman said that moment in time was not redeemable.
“All of our recollections of that fire that are seared in our minds just aren’t redeemable,” Bohlman said. “There’s never going to be a silver lining to find in all of them. There’s nothing that we are going to be able to take from it, any good that we could take out of this that would even come close to the cost of that fire or lives and a woman in a burn unit in Madison fighting for her life.”
Bohlman said it’s a hard thing to swallow when we realize we can’t make that moment in time right or glean something from it to say that something good came out of it.
Bohlman’s message was that darkness never gets the last word and evil doesn’t win.
“Although there are moments in our lives that we find they really are unredeemable, what I want to tell you all tonight is that does not mean that has to be the final picture,” Bohlman said.
Bohlman asked the community to step away from their picture of that Friday and move forward and paint new pictures. He said the community will rise again.
“The picture you carry of Sept. 7 will always be with you and there will be no amount of rationalization that will be able to redeem that moment,” Bohlman said. “That picture of Sept. 7 is now going to ever be a part of the history of this community. It is always going to be with us. We may not want it, but we have to live with it.”
Bohlman recognized the Blanchardville and Argyle fire departments and EMS units, local police officers and Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department during the service.