City rallies after tragedy

By Terri Harber, WesCom News Service September 30, 2013 10:07 am
BAKER CITY — A huge bundle of bright and colorful balloons was released. As they floated upward and away, at least one person was heard to say “Bye, Jordan.”

Then a few tiny children’s voices, like echoes, were heard to say the same thing. 

Once the balloons were enveloped by the dark sky, someone started singing “Amazing Grace” and the entire assemblage joined in.

About 150 people braved cold, wet weather Sunday evening to remember 5-year-old Jordan Micheal Ryan, who died as a result of a pit bull attack at a family friend’s residence on Friday morning.

The public memorial to celebrate his life was held outside the kindergarten he attended in a wing of Baker High School.

“We have the memories,” said Hank King, Jordan’s great-grandfather.

King also led the group in prayer, then asked for people to share their experiences and thoughts about Jordan.

One person said he had held Jordan in his lap once and the boy was very loving. 

Many of the people there cried softly during large portions of the gathering and they said very little. Most were parents who had brought their children along.

King hugged and comforted the boy’s grieving father, Nathan Craig, his own grandson, at one point.

Jordan’s mother, Michelle Ryan, also attended the memorial.

A small tent allowed them and other close relatives some privacy and shelter from the rain after King finished speaking. 

It also served as a dry spot for Jordan’s picture and other decorative items to be displayed alongside candles.

Next to the tent was a fence that served as a memory wall. It contained toys, balloons and ribbons. Children were signing the balloons hanging there as well as some of those sent skyward.

And Heather McCoy, who attends Harvest Church, said her fellow church members were taking donations for the family and planning a prayer meeting.