Manila Class of 2005 honors classmate with memorial service

Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Members of the Manila Class of 2005 joined in a memorial service for classmate Tonya Tomblin. They unveiled a statue of a sleeping lion and a plaque inscribed in memory of Tomblin who died in a house fire earlier in the year. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Tears were shared as the Manila Class of 2005 held a memorial service in honor of classmate Tonya Tomblin. Tonya, her mother, sister, and brother, died in a house fire Dec. 16.

Classmates welcomed members of Tonya's family including her father, William Rinehart, sister, Amanda Hood, and grandmother, Lyvone Butler.

A plaque in front of the high school in memory of Tonya, along with a statue of a sleeping lion, has been placed by the senior class.

Classmates gathered as the monument was unveiled Wednesday morning.

Class President Brittni Sammons spoke briefly thanking Mildred Ramsey of Ramsey's Plants, Kenny Bourland of NEA Monuments, and Mr. and Mrs. Don Wallis for their contributions.

"We are gathered in remembrance of a special person," Sammons said. "Tonya Tomblin was a person known by many. She was sweet and kind, and a friend to many. She made many laugh and put a sparkle in their eye. She welcomed with open arms, and never caused any harm. Her comments and jokes never made anyone blue. She had a big and loving heart and was a great friend right from the start.

"We will keep her very close because she was a friend to many, though statements were in past tense, I cannot stand here today and say 'was' because she still is a friend to many because Tonya will always remain in our hearts.

"Now I ask you to believe an angel is standing right with you. You see angels are always with us. If you are having a bad day, an angel is there, trying to make everything right. If you are having a good day, an angel is there cheering you on with praise. On any given day, an angel is there with words of encouragement or words of wisdom. I believe Tonya is sought to be many of your angels, and on behalf of the Class of 2005 we would like to dedicate this lion as an angel in memory of Tonya Tomblin."

Classmates Tommy Elinburg and Jerri Stokes shared their memories of Tonya.

"The class of 2005 is a family," Elinburg said. "We loved Tonya and she loved us. Today she still loves us."

A moment of silence was held in memory of Tonya before family, teachers, and classmates made a circle around the monument.

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