It’s been more than two months since Lori Cove was hit by a car while cycling near Cary’s Bond Park, an accident that sent the Cary town official and triathlete to the hospital with critical injuries.
She remains hospitalized at WakeMed hospital in Raleigh and has undergone numerous operations.
But her friends and colleagues came together for a candlelight vigil at Town Hall Wednesday night to show that she’s not far from their minds.
“I think she’d find significance in the fact that we’re gathered here on Dec. 21, the longest night of the year,” said Alan Piercy, who was among the friends who helped organize the vigil.
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“It’s been a dark time for Lori,” he said. “But the hope of the winter solstice is that each day moving forward, the sun gets a little stronger, the days get a little longer, and we get a little closer to those warm days of spring and summer. We all know how much Lori enjoys those warm days.”
Cove, 48, is Cary’s transportation and facilities director and has worked with the town since 2007.
Cove, of Raleigh, was hospitalized and placed on life support after Christopher Lee Moore, 33, allegedly struck her and fellow cyclist Virginia Davis the evening of Oct. 17 on High House Road. Moore, of Morrisville, has been charged with two counts of felony hit-and-run.
The crowd gathered in front of the town’s massive Christmas tree and held candles as friends shared stories about Cove and said prayers.
“She needs all the prayers she can have right now,” said Joanie Olivier, whose husband, Andre, led a prayer. “And we believe the power of prayer can help.”
The vigil was coordinated by a group of friends that included Scott Hecht, Cary’s public works director, and others who train and compete with Cove in triathlons.
The organizers’ choice of location also was meant to show off Cove’s work on Academy Street, which runs along the west side of the Town Hall building. One of Cove’s major projects in the past two years has been the $8 million Cary streetscape project, which aims to revitalize South Academy Street between Town Hall and the Cary Arts Center as a “signature street,” making the downtown more attractive and usable for major events.
Hecht talked about Cove’s love for beer, chocolate and the Clemson Tigers – her alma mater.
“As much as it pains me, I’ll continue to root for Clemson until she gets out of that room, and I can tell her I won’t do it anymore,” said Hecht, a graduate of the University of South Carolina. “That’s hard for me as a Gamecock.”
Before the vigil, Alan Piercy described his friend as a “tremendously caring person.”
“She has a tremendous zest for life,” Alan Piercy said. “Lori never met a stranger. She has always had encouraging words for everyone she met, and she’s an amazing athlete. She had completed two Ironman competitions within 30 days of the incident.”
Melissa Piercy, Alan Piercy’s wife, read a statement from Cove’s family, who did not attend the gathering.
“There are truly no words to adequately express our deepest appreciation for everything you have done and continue to do for us and for Lori every day,” Melissa Piercy read. “We certainly could not have gotten this far without all of your kindness and support. Lori is the shining star of our family, the most upbeat and loving person ... and it comes as no surprise that Lori has the same type of people as her friends.”
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan