Family, friends and members of the congregation of Grace Apostolic Church gathered to say farewell to Destacia Straughn and her little girl, Kenacia Amerson-Straughn.
“This was a city thing,” says Chaplain Dale Carter, a friend of the family. “The lost of a child cause this city to come together.”
Since the 22-year-old mother and her two-year-old daughter were shot and killed Dec. 6 inside their townhome, relatives say the grieving Straughn family struggled to raise funds to hold a proper funeral and burial service for them.
But clergy in the community came together to offer assistance.
“The only thing I said was there would be no charge to the family. It's the least we can do to initiate healing,” says senior pastor of Grace Apostolic Church, William Barlowe.
While Barlowe opened up his doors to the Straughn family, he says he played a small role.
“It's not me,” he says. “It’s the church’s effort and my members support in what we do in the community."
Many church members took time off from work to grieve with the family.
Project K.N.O.S.E., or Keeping North Omaha Safe for Everyone, took over fund raising efforts for the family and doubled its goals due to social media.
Organizers say the deaths are tragic but they hope there is a teachable moment.
"I've had young mothers come by the casket who have children,” Barlowe says. “I've told them to review their choices so when you look in the casket do you see Destacia and Kenacia? Or do you see yourself potentially?"