Public Service Remembers Jacob Samusenko - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Public Service Remembers Jacob Samusenko

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Several weeks were filled with searching and prayers for Jacob Samusenko.

Efforts came from friends, neighbors and even strangers, and now more than a month after his body was found, his family thanked the community with a special memorial service.

It's helping everyone involved get some final closure.

This is a story that touched everyone in the community, as we saw with several city wide searches.

The Samusenko family has seen an overwhelming outpouring of support from the day Jacob went missing, to Saturday's final farewell.

April 19th would have been Jacob's 18th birthday, and eight days after, the family said they held this ceremony to celebrate every year they had with him.

It was also to say thank you to the countless people who helped, whether by physically searching, or through prayers.

From neighbors and classmates who knew Jacob well, to sympathetic community members, who heard of the Samusenko's tragedy,  all came together, to remember an inspiring life cut too short.

"I was actually surprised because people actually cared even they didn't know him, and that is just kind of refreshing," said Andrew Perederiy, who met Jacob through their church's youth group. The Samusenkos were members of the First Ukrainian and Russian Baptist Church. 

"We're able to just sort of reminisce in a happy way," said Olga Perederiy, who also knew Jacob through the youth group. "Exert positive energy here instead of remembering the bad that happened."

 Jacob's mother Nadia spoke through tears as she described her gratitude for the community's support. Over the past three months she's welcomed many visitors to her home sharing their condolences, and also received letter after letter of hope and sympathy.

She said she wishes she could write back to each one personally, but the public service was one way to spread her thanks far and wide.

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