Patrick Gioia’s sister Mary was murdered in 1985 in California when she was 22 years old. Nearly 23 years later, Gioia, of Clifton Park, describes the pain of losing his sister to a violent crime as “a well inside him that never fills up.”
Gioia and dozens of other victims of crimes gathered Saturday afternoon to remember their loved ones and dedicate new bricks at the New York State Crime Victims Memorial.
“It’s cathartic to be here with other people who share the same pain and stories as you,” Gioia said.
The dedication ceremony was the culmination of a weeklong series of events celebrating Crime Victims Week in New York. The ceremony was meant to honor all those who suffer in the aftermath of violence, not just the victims but their family, friends and neighbors.
Tina Stanford, chairwoman of the New York State Crime Victims Board, gave the keynote address, in which she urged victims to help law enforcement officials help them.
“I understand that the network of officials can not give you back what you’ve lost, but please, tell us what you need by sharing your stories,” she said.
She also urged victims to share their stories with each other in the hopes that it would help them heal.
“The story of the man next to you could give you hope, and the story of the woman in front of you could help you heal,” she said. “Learn from someone else and be stronger for it.”