More than 100 friends and family of Don Arnder gathered at Eddie’s Zip Foods on Friday night to remember a man they said will never be forgotten.
Arnder, owner of Eddie’s, was shot and killed at his store on May 25, just minutes before its scheduled midnight closing time. The vigil was held at 11:50 p.m., the time police estimate Arnder was shot.
Gray Burkhart and Crystal Potts, two regular customers at the store, organized the candlelight vigil to remember their friend.
One man in the crowd said that Arnder was a good, fair and honest man.
“One day we will meet him over there,” said the man.
“He was just a good man and I know I’m going to miss him,” said a woman in the crowd.
The crowd sang “Amazing Grace,” “This Little Light of Mine” and “Go Rest High Upon this Mountain” as tears streamed down the faces of many.
Another man in the crowd spoke up saying, “He was such a peaceful and humble man. He was like a brother to me. People would come and steal from him and he’d let them come back. I’ve got respect for the things he tolerated. He helped people in need. Mr. Don had no bad words for nobody. I’m glad for all the people who came tonight. That makes me glad,” said the man.
He then lead a prayer with “The Lord’s Prayer.”
“Let’s remember the kind things he did for each of us. He was a man of joy and he made people happy,” said the man.
Melissa Hodges said Arnder was a special friend to her family, especially her mother-in-law Pat Tate. She has a handicapped daughter and she said Arnder would let her put a donation jar on the counter to help the family pay for her needs.
“He was a giving person. The good Lord took one of his angels home. He’s touched everybody’s lives,” said Hodges.
Tate said Arnder had a heart of gold.
“He was a legend. He’s the best,” said Tate.
Burkhart thanked the Mount Airy Police Department for being there and for everyone who came out.
At the end of the vigil, Potts thanked everyone for coming.
“He’ll be really missed. We all feel like his family,” said Potts.
Reach Mondee Tilley at email@example.com or at 719-1930.