Funeral services were held last weekend for Renee Shelkin, Lydia Petkoff and Sarah Carter, three of the four young women killed in the June 14 crash on I-95.
On Friday, June 22, friends and relatives of Renee Shelkin gathered at Good Shepard Catholic Church in the Mt. Vernon area, where Father Chuck McCoart led a celebration of Renees life. He shared a story about his niece and a walk around the block to a place she had never been but she trusted her uncle to get her home. He used this as a parable to Renee, and reminded everyone to trust in god.
God has taken Renee home. Thank you God that Renee was Gods gift to us, he said.
The service included a letter reading by Renees father, Paul Shelkin, who fought back the tears as he read. Renee was not burdened by all the countless stresses and strains of everyday life that we all suffer from. As a result, she was by far the funniest, happiest person I knew, he said.
On the way into the church, mourners passed by a table of Renees pictures and mementos, surrounding her years at West Potomac High School. There were pictures of her softball team, her years as a cheerleader, and a few graduation pictures from earlier the day she died. Friends remembered the smiling, upbeat attitude she had. She was funny, very funny all the time. She was real social, she knew everyone, said one teenager who did not give his name. Tamara Wilson was in her graduating class. She was really happy and lively. I never have seen her sad, she said. Becky Bray knew her since middle school. She basically was known for hanging out with everyone, Bray said.
Sarah and Lydia
The following day, a funeral was held at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Mt. Vernon for Sarah and Lydia, who were cousins as well as good friends. Reverend Dr. Dennis W. Perry called the ceremony, a celebration of the life. Perry looked at the full house, with overflow in the lobby, and commented on the power of family, friends and faith. They knew what it was like to care about people and best friends, he said. Perry addressed the girls parents. Any of us who have children are frightened by the pain you bear, he said.
There was one point in the ceremony for tributes, featuring letters from both girls parents, and many friends sobbing through their thoughts. Perry read a letter from Sarahs mother, which talked about both of the cousins inseparable demeanor.
I was blessed to be part of their lives, the letter read.
Lydias father remembered Lydia and Sarahs friendship. The two girls always did everything together, he said. We have two big holes in our hearts.
All three of the girls were buried at Mount Comfort Cemetery in Alexandria.