Jackie Walorski’s family speaks, remembering her life during vigil

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ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. – Hundreds of people—family, friends, colleagues, and some who may not have even known Jackie Walorski—all gathered outside Jimtown High School Thursday evening, to rmember the life of the beloved congresswoman.

It was the one man who knew her best that had the most to share:

"A lot of people know Jackie as Jackie. A lot of people know Jackie as Jackie Walorski. I know Jackie as Jackie Swihart, my wife,” said Dean Swihart, Jackie’s husband for nearly thirty years, who spoke publicly for the first time, sharing stories of their time volunteering in Romania and his proposal to her.

"'You'd make me the happiest man in the world if you'd marry me,’” He remembered telling her. “’Will you marry me?' I've spent half my life knowing Jackie."

Dean was joined by Jackie’s brother, her mom, the family of Zachery Potts and over one hundred of Jackie’s closest friends and constituents, many of them asked for Michiana to remember Jackie’s mission.

"We can't replace a wonderful lady, but if each of us do our part, our community, our state, our country will be a better place,” said Tim Henke, who organized the event.

Others remembered Jackie’s addicting personality.

"Boy, you couldn't talk to Jackie without sensing her enthusiasm, her feeling for the people of her congressional district, and how much she cared about Indiana,” said friend Carl Baxmeyer. “She was just a great person."

A great person who lost her life too soon.

Walorski was killed in a car accident Wednesday afternoon, along with three others: Emma Thomson, Zachery Potts and Edith Schmucker.

The congresswoman, dead at fifty-eight years old, just days shy of her fifty-ninth birthday on August 17.

Her husband is content knowing that Jackie is in a better place.

"If Jackie's in Heaven and celebrating, I'm so happy,” he said. “I know where she is. She's with my dad, she's with her dad. I'll see her again!

Visitation services will be held at Granger Community Church on August 10. Her funeral will follow on August 11.

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