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St. Clair Shores Community Gathers for a Vigil for Ben Hughes

Hundreds of members of the St. Clair Shores community gathered Sunday night in Wahby Park to pray for former City Manager Ben Hughes.

The community gathered Sunday night in Wahby Park in front of Blossom Heath Inn for a prayer vigil for former St. Clair Shores City Manager Ben Hughes.

Current and former city employees, representatives from all three school districts, local business owners, members of community service organizations, and residents were among the more than 200 people who attended the vigil.

"This is not a funeral, it is a time to pray," said Pastor Bryan Hochhalter of Grace Community Church in Detroit, who led the vigil.

Hughes, who resigned from his position Nov. 1, remains hospitalized with injuries from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Members of Hughes family were also in attendance at the vigil.

"Over the last couple of years my brother has really grown to love St. Clair Shores. This was his extended family," said Abe Hughes, Ben's brother, who said he didn't expect to see such a large turnout. "It means a lot to my family, and it means a lot to Ben."

Assistant City Manager Mike Smith said the turnout at the vigil "reaffirmed" why Hughes took on St. Clair Shores as his home and why he "loved" working with city employees and residents.

Smith added that city council was asked not to attend so there wouldn't be any distractions.

"We do want everyone here to keep Ben in their prayers," Smith said.

Additionally, city planner Liz Koto is creating a list of volunteers to help Ben and his wife in the weeks and months to come. Koto is creating a website to help with organizing volunteers to assist with meals, rake leaves and shovel snow.

Major Questions November 12, 2012 at 11:18 AM
City Council was asked not to attend? Wow. So what exactly made this group of people the fall guys for this man's decision? Because they "accepted his resignation" or "forced him out" due to lackluster job performance AFTER his contract expired all the while STILL giving him 4 months pay and 6 months of health insurance? Someone needs to start speaking up as to what really went down during those closed door sessions because it is clear that it is more than meets the eye and the residents have a right to know at this point why a candlelight vigil, volunteer list, etc are put together for a man who did this while the accidental death of three SCS residents/business owners have barely been a blip on anyone's radar.
Del Westergren November 12, 2012 at 08:33 PM
What a nice community. Thanks, Del (Rachel's aunt)
really? November 12, 2012 at 11:12 PM
You really have no idea what's going on in your city, do you? And don't blame Ben.
Dianna Westergren November 13, 2012 at 12:06 AM
This is clearly a wonderful showing of how much Ben is loved. Ben is a kind, intelligent and thoughtful person. He has a wonderful family and has many friends and acquaintances. We all wish him a speedy recovery.
Renee Beauchamp November 13, 2012 at 01:44 AM
SCS is a great community.
Renee Beauchamp November 13, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I'm sure no one will ever be privy to what went on during the closed door sessions. In the two years Ben was CM he made a favorable impression with the residents and employees of SCS. He was a hard worker who cared about people. Unless you've been exposed to council/mayor as an employee you cannot know the pressure he was under. He deserves the severance he received. The reason everyone is trying to help he and his wife out is because the residents/employees/former employers are caring people. I am sorry to hear about the passing of the three SCS residents/business owners. They and their families are in my prayers.
Major Questions November 14, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I don't blame him. This has nothing to do with what he chose to do to himself. It has everything to do with his family, friends or whoever that decided it was necessary to blame council for simply doing their jobs. We all have job pressures. What about the pressure on our military members to not only avoid getting killed/hurt but to also watch the back of the guy next to him? What about the pressure on the surgeons who are making life and death decisions and moves? What about the pressure on a pilot to get 300+ souls in the air and back on the ground safely? What about the pressures of a company owner who potentially has to close the doors and remove the income of multiple people? We all have pressures, we all have jobs to do and decisions to make. Employers cannot be to blame because they have to make a tough decision likely an unfavorable decision if the employee then goes off the deep end. We all have pressures and we all have stress. We all also have had to deal with coworkers we don't particularly care for. However we either change jobs or get help. As an ADULT we don't make a decision such as he did and then blame the meanies we have to work with. That is kid stuff, that is bullied teenager who doesn't know any better stuff.
CINDY PUDDOCK November 14, 2012 at 10:05 PM
couldnt be better said . We live in a messed up world/city scs sucks and has several snaky workers. The truth will come out but sure the city will then try and be hush hush instead of making a big deal of that . I do truly have sympathy for Bens wife and unborn child as well as his loved one having to deal with this . I know to many who have died from cancers, illnesses or murdered that had much respect for life but had that taken from them. And then one has TO MUCH STRESS and tries to shoot himself........SELFISH
LINDA YOUNG November 19, 2012 at 01:27 PM
What a shame it all comes down to trying to point fingers. We should be better than that and try to put together as a city. There is no more powerful word than "forgiveness" and maybe we should all put that word back into our vocabulary. I've lived her for 60 years and I can't think of a single city I would rather live in today. What we need now is to pull together and pray that we head in a positive direction for the future of St. Clair Shores. Don't look for fault but look for a way to make the situation better. Linda Young
Concerned November 27, 2012 at 12:16 AM
I'm apalled to see that some people are thinking Ben selfish for his actions. Open your eyes and ears residents. Our city is a mess, and city council HAS made Ben the fall guy. He carried out city council's policies. He was not responsible for making policy. It will be interesting to see what the results will be in the next city council election. It is my hope that most of who sits on council, including the mayor, will be out. Robert Hison was good for our city, very good. Currently that cannot be said. Ben, the truth will come out, even though the city will try to hush it. Whatever myself and my family can do for you and your family, we're in.
Renee Beauchamp November 27, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Concerned, I totally agree with you. I worked for the city for 13 years (left on August 31st), a lot of my career in Code Enforcement. Ben may have had other issues that led to his attempted suicide, but I believe with all my heart that council and Mayor contributed to the stress. The city is a mess. Ben was not responsible for making policy and council/Mayor are too wishy washy and take forever to make policy. All he could do was jump when they said to. No one could ever jump high enough for the current council/Mayor. Hison was good for the city. He kept things under control. If there is anything that I can do, Ben, just let me know. I could at least relate what my experience was with regard to Code Enforcement. I was always under the impression that the charter was written for a City Manager then council/Mayor type government but it always seemed that it was council/Mayor with the City Manager (Ben) after them.

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