CLINTON — The one-year anniversary of a deadly car crash in Clinton was commemorated Tuesday with a ceremony for the responding emergency crews and a candlelight vigil for the three young victims.

Despite the freezing temperatures and light snow, the family and friends of Tommy Porfirio, 15, and Emily and Ashlin Baker, ages 14 and 12 respectively, gathered outside the Porfirio family’s home in Benton for a memorial.

“I just want them to be remembered,” Sheila Porfirio, mother of Tommy Porfirio, said at Tuesday night’s vigil.

Clinton fatal

Ashlin Baker, 12, left, Emily Baker, 14, and Thomas Porfirio, 15, were killed in a one-car crash on Hinckley Road in Clinton one year ago. Contributed photos

During the gathering, the family played Tommy’s favorite music, served hot chocolate and released balloons with a message printed on them that read “gone but not forgotten,” and “those we love never go far but live forever in our hearts.”

Loved ones also prepared poster collages of all three victims that attendees were able to sign.

The three youths were killed on the morning of Feb. 9, 2020, after the car they were riding in struck a tree along Hinckley Road in Clinton.

“I’m just so afraid that as the years go by, people might forget them,” Sheila said. “They’re not just three kids who were in a crash, they were three vibrant, wonderful teenagers who had their whole lives ahead of them. I just want people to keep all three of them in their hearts and memories. I know we won’t (forget them.)”

The driver, Timothy Silva, 17, pleaded guilty to one juvenile charge of manslaughter in the deaths of Porfirio and the Baker sisters. Silva also pleaded guilty to charges of driving to endanger, criminal speeding and operating a motor vehicle without a license, which were charged as adult crimes.

In December, Waterville District Court Judge Charles Dow sentenced Silva to be committed to the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland until he’s 21 years old.

“This isn’t about Tim anymore, that’s over with,” Sheila Porfirio said at the Tuesday night vigil. “Now this is about Tommy, Emily and Ashlin.”

Despite the challenges of the last year, Porfirio said, the support from the community has been a bright spot. “I just want to thank the community, they were so good to us all year,” she said.

Porfirio said local businesses like Dairy Queen and the American Legion Post 14 donated to Tommy’s funeral expenses. “I mean I had people who didn’t even know me, they would leave stuff in our mailbox for us,” she said. “It was just unbelievable what the community did.”

On Tuesday morning, members of the Fairfield Masonic Lodge met at the Clinton Fire Station to present the agencies that responded to the crash with plaques as a thank you.

The Fairfield and Clinton Masonic Lodges teamed up to organize a bottle and can drive over the summer to raise money for the plaques, according to David Rancourt, a member of Siloam Lodge 92 in Fairfield.

Rancourt was accompanied by fellow Fairfield lodge members Paul Dunbar and John McCutcheon to present the plaques to the Burnham Fire Department, the Clinton police department and fire department, and the Fairfield Fire Department. There were also individual plaques given to each person who was at the crash site.

Rancourt said that the plaques were not only meant to thank the agencies for their efforts on the day of the crash but for their efforts on a daily basis.

Representing the Masons from the Siloam Lodge, Dave Rancourt, left, and John McCutcheon, right, presented plaques and framed certificates of appreciation for the first responders who went to the scene of a triple fatal car crash in Clinton on Feb. 9, 2020. Receiving the items on behalf of the first responders are shown in the center from left, Clinton Police Chief Rusty Bell, Clinton Fire Chief Travis Leary and Burnham Assistant Fire Chief Kyle King. The presentation took place at the Clinton Fire Department in Clinton. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

“While we mourn the loss of the kids and our hearts reach out to the families, we extend our thank you to you guys,” Rancourt said. “While we greatly appreciate all of our first responders who tirelessly attend to our calls of need, we take this opportunity to identify an example of your bravery, your compassion and your dedicated professionalism, … on this particular day, Feb, 9, each department responded appropriately. … The communities really do appreciate all that you do, thank you.”

According to Rancourt, the lodges collected more than 60,000 bottles and cans over the course of the fundraiser.

Clinton Police Chief Stanley Bell accepted the plaque on behalf of the department.

“I just can’t believe it’s already been one year,” Bell said.

“A simple thank you goes a long way in this job,” Clinton Fire Chief Travis Leary said. “We don’t do this for the glory or the money, but it’s nice to get recognition and a thank you.”

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