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Four Children Laid to Rest
Written By: Tanja Rekhi
ELMIRA -- (WENY) ELMIRA --(WENY) At least 100 family members and friends poured into the McInerny Funeral Home for a very heartbreaking service as Tina Parker laid her four young children to rest.They were tragically killed after their house caught on fire the night of Friday, August 30.
At today's service, Chaplain Jim Ellis quoted Parker saying, "Cherish what you have right now, for in half an hour it can all be gone."
Firefighters put the fire out in about 15 minutes; however, after being taken to the hospital, the four children did not make it.
These children were all very loved by the community. Friends and loved ones are feeling a deep loss.
Described as caring and loving, 17-year-old Courtney Stanton would have begun her junior year at Southside High School. Prior to her eulogy, Amanda Perez's "God Sent Me An Angel was played. And afterward, loved ones heard Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel." Chaplain Ellis challenged her friends to hold a seat open for her at graduation next Summer as her memory lives on.
Her younger sister, 10-year-old Amera Mansour was remembered as someone who told it like it was, With a passion for song and dance. She was remembered as Tina's Fireball and a sparked plug. Alicia Keys' "Girl on Fire" followed her eulogy.
Young Nidal Mansour known as NJ -- with his degree of sensitivity that most seven-year-olds don't have-- brought some relief as loved ones reflected on his personality. Those at the service laughed as one of Nidal's favorite songs, Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me" was played.
And five-year-old Jordan Mansour was remembered as mommy's baby. He would have started first grade at Riverside Elementary School yesterday. He was described as someone who would light up a room as if he were a 250 Watt light bulb, someone people instantly fell in love with. One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" was played as loved ones reflected on him.
Friends, some wearing shirts in memory of the children, leaned on one another for support.
"There's four sweet children that are gone, it's just nice that everyone can come out and just remember them for who they are," said Hannah Jerzak, a family friend.
Their sister Ryma Mansour, spoke up at today's service, questioning why her siblings were taken from her. The kids were living at their Uncle, Robert Parker's house.
"There was just no difference between any of them and my kids," says Parker. "And I treated them that way and my wife treated them that way. Even the neighborhood liked the kids."
The neighborhood is grieving their loss, creating a memorial outside the now charred home. Meanwhile, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
At Buffalo Wild Wings in Horseheads, 20% of your check automatically goes to the family. Starting on the 16th the restaurant will also be hosting additional benefit events lasting all week. You can also contribute to a trust fund Robert Parker has set up at Empire Federal Credit Union for Ryma Mansour to go to college or to have after age 21 if she doesn't go to college.