It's been a difficult week for one Rockford family, and it didn't get any easier as it came time to say goodbye to Thomas Kossow.
The 8-year-old boy was laid to rest this afternoon. But the family was not alone in their time of grieving.
Since Thomas was found dead outside of his home September 10th, support for his family has flooded in. Now on the day of his funeral, community members continue to come together in any way they can.
"He was a cute kid, always smiled, always sweet, and it's so sad this had to happen," says Maria Payton, who attended the visitation.
Starting at three in the afternoon, those who knew Thomas Kossow, including Payton, filed into Mount Olive Lutheran Church for funeral services .
Payton's son often spent time with Thomas and his sister. She remembers the very last time she saw Thomas, during a fishing trip, a little more than a week before he died.
"They loved going down the Kishwaukee River, they liked fishing, swimming. And they used to come to my house and play," says Payton.
While most of the nearly 100 mourners are family and friends, some are simply members of the community who felt compelled to show their support, like Markiciya Cooper.
"I just had a feeling inside that I had to be here today, it was like god sent me to come here and that's why I'm here. I just want everyone to know that during times like these we've got to pull together and make sure that we take care of not only our kids but our family," says Cooper.
Cooper's thoughts were on her own young son as she paid her respects to Thomas. "It makes me want to hold him closer, it makes me just want to be more family oriented because it just seems like life is short," she said.
Hundreds of others have shown their support of the Kossows through contributions to the 'Thomas Fund' at Associated Bank. There's also a website taking donations. That total passed $8,000 already.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WREX. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Trista Truesdale at (815) 335-7856. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.