PRINCETON, W.Va. — A loving community collectively turned their hearts heavenward Thursday night, praying for a speedy and complete recovery for Tammie Toler, a person who had touched each of their lives in a positive and meaningful way.
Deborah Clay organized the prayer vigil and asked several of Toler’s family members to step forward and light the candles that burned brightly through the service. Clay explained that it was laid on her heart to organize the vigil “the day that I heard she fell ill,” Clay said. She said that she has never met Toler, but she could see the love in the audience “that she has shown us.”
Clay’s husband, Pastor Kenneth Clay, also Princeton city clerk, provided both the invocation and the benediction. He also spoke briefly on behalf of the city. “We’re all looking forward to the day she’ll be back with us,” Pastor Clay said. “Tammie is a wonderful person.”
Reverend Jim Stanley came forward and gave an update on Toler’s condition. He said that he has been in contact with the family regularly. He said that Toler underwent surgery at 4 p.m. and said that when he last spoke with Toler’s Aunt Debbie, “she just asked for many, many prayers,” he said. “Tammie is very, very sick. We just need to really, really pray.”
The group gathered for the vigil sang in unison Toler’s favorite song, “Victory in Jesus,” with Deacon Karl Miller providing the musical accompaniment.
Reverend John King, pastor of Johnston Chapel Church, added his prayer for Tammie as well as for her parents, Connie and Doug Toler. “God is able,” he said. “We’re here tonight to pray.”
Samantha Perry, managing editor of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph has been doubling up her duties this week. “We all love Tammie,” Perry said of the staff. “We have all been devastated by this.” Still, Perry said the staff of the Princeton Times has worked to get the paper out. “When I asked Amy Persinger how we were doing, she said we have to take care of her baby…”