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A florist and a priest--helping Berrien County heal

The Berrien County community has been rallying behind the families and friends of bailiffs Joe Zangaro and Ron Kienzle since Monday’s fatal shooting inside the courthouse.

Two people’s contributions may seem small, but they can bring some light to such a dark time.

A florist. And a priest.

Neither of them knew Joe Zangaro personally, but they feel connected to him and want to help in the best way they know how.

“Flowers are actually one of the best ways to celebrate someone’s life,” said Crystal Springs Florist, Russell Siegert,.

Father Robert Creagan will be reading the gospel at Joe’s funeral on Friday.

“One line of course is blessed are those who mourn and they will be comforted. And I think that’s the main focus that I would hope is expressed that all who are there, whether they knew Mr. Zangaro or not…that they will be comforted,” said Father Robert Creagan, a St. Joseph Church pastor.

Russell Siegert – who runs the Crystal Springs flower shop –hopes that the arrangement he donated to the Zangaro family will also bring them comfort.

“In such a tragic moment, you know sadness, heartfelt moment, flowers can make people feel a little more at ease,” said Russell.

“I like to think that the Church is also a sign of protection and guidance, so I think we all work together, and that’s how I’be been amazed in the last few days-really how everyone has come together and very respectful of our officers,” said Father Robert.

Through flowers and through prayer, Russell and Father Robert hope the family knows they’re in awe of Joe Zangaro’s service--and ultimately--sacrifice.

"The irony is that, maybe you know, they’re there to stand in harm’s way for us, but then when it happens, it’s like…they really meant it,” said Father Robert.

Joe Zangaro has a relative who is a Catholic priest, and he’ll be presiding over the funeral Friday. It will be at the Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor at one o’clock in the afternoon.

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