COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)– Family and friends held a vigil in the Arby’s parking lot on Veterans Parkway to honor Ronald “Red” Barksdale.
There was a sea of red in the parking lot as the community came together to celebrate the life of Barksdale. Barksdale was killed after being struck by a vehicle on Veterans Parkway early Tuesday morning. His cousin Adren Stallion said she was devastated when she heard the news.
“I was out running errands and I got a phone call from my mother to let me know that I needed to get to the house. I definitely was heartbroken because I had just seen him, probably a month ago right here on Veterans Parkway. To hear the news of him being killed by a vehicle is very heartbreaking,” Stallion said.
Prayers and a few words were given to start off the vigil for Barksdale, but his loved ones wanted attendees to feel his presence. Everyone was required to honor Barksdale by participating in the electric slide. People began swaying left and right and then eventually going into the full dance routine. Erica Harper, a friend of Barksdale, said he was known for dancing but more importantly for his kindness.
“I met Red maybe five or six years ago at a local gym, Insane fitness. Basically, he would come in there and motivate us sometimes and push us and sing and dance with us. He really brightened up our days, the days he stopped in just to speak with us and dance with us,” Harper said.
Stallion told News 3 her cousin was a very loving person.
“Red as the community knows him by, Ronald as our family knows him by or Boobie. He was a very loving person, very kind person, very kind-hearted. He would do anything to help anyone, he loved dancing of course as we all know that. He loved to sing, he loved his music, he didn’t bother anyone and that’s the best way I can describe him,” Stallion said.
Stallion said she and her family are not mad at the woman who struck him with her car.
“I would like to say to her if she could contact our family… If she could contact me…I just want to let her know that we are not mad, we are not angry because accidents happen. I don’t want her to feel like the family is mad or angry because we’re not,” Stallion said.
While those in the crowd were preparing to release red balloons, a strong gush of wind came through. Everyone in the crowd began to laugh and said “It’s Red letting us know he’s not going anywhere”.
The balloons were released and everyone said their goodbyes. Barksdale’s funeral will be held Wednesday, July 21 at 1:00 at First African Baptist Church, located at 901 5th Avenue in Columbus. The funeral is open to the public.
“It was definitely him, it was what he wanted. This is what he would have wanted because it represents him and who he was. I believe that we should celebrate a person’s life the way they lived here on Earth and that’s how he lived here on the Earth. Dancing and singing, so it defiantly him and I just saw nothing but love,” Stallion said.