In the weeks and months since her son, Joe Barone, was killed on Interstate 79 by passing tractor-trailer trucks, Stephanie Barone said she has thought of little else.
“I don’t want Joe to fade away,” she said.
Now, as the one-year anniversary of the 17-year-old’s death approaches, Barone said she is choosing to celebrate her son’s life.
Barone, family and friends are holding a candlelight memorial in honor of Joe at 4 p.m. Sunday, March at 126 South Clay Street in Zelienople.
Barone said everyone who knew Joe is welcome at the event.
“I live with the accident every waking moment of my life and I want moments like this, not so much to grieve and remember the events of how it happened, but to remember Joe and to let the kids know I’m still very much here and Joe is still very much alive in our home, wherever it may be at that time,” Barone said.
Joe, who was just shy of his 18th birthday, died last March. According to state police, he was at a house party in Harmony and was attempting to get home by walking on Interstate 79 in Lancaster Township when he was struck by at least two passing tractor-trailer trucks.
The drivers were not charged in the incident.
Barone, who described her son as a free spirit, was devastated, as was Joe’s father, siblings and many friends.
Shortly after Joe’s death, many of those friends stopped by Barone’s house with flowers, candles and letters they wrote to Joe, who was nicknamed “The Kid.” Also given to Barone was a wooden cross made by one of Joe’s friends and signed by his loved ones.
Barone said there would be more opportunities to sign the cross at Sunday’s memorial, which she said would focus on safe fun. There also will be a balloon release in Joe’s name, food and a bonfire. Hacky sack, one of Joe’s favorite pastimes, also will be played at the celebration.
Do you have a memory of Joe Barone you’d like to share? Tell us in the comment section below.